Chief vets calls on farmers to increase FMD checks on animals

Defra chief veterinary officer today called on animal keepers to increase their checks of all animals susceptible to FMD and carefully examine their livestock for symptoms of disease.

Debby Reynolds, chief veterinary officer, today called on animal keepers to increase their checks of all animals susceptible to Foot & Mouth Disease and carefully examine their livestock for symptoms of disease.

She said laboratory results have confirmed the presence of the antibodies for FMD virus in the cattle at the premises where disease was confirmed yesterday (Infected Premises 5). Postmortem examination revealed FMD lesions, some more than 10 days old.

"It is absolutely vital that farmers remain vigilant and adhere to strict biosecurity measures and licence conditions. This is a disease which can be easily spotted in its early stages. Immediate reporting of any suspicions is critical to the control of this disease," Reynolds said. "Welfare codes already require that animals are inspected at least once a day. I am now urging that these checks are carried out twice a day given the current circumstances."

Richard MacDonald, director gneral of the National Farmers Union said: "We very much want to get out the shared message to farmers that it is critical for them to be vigilant in terms of looking out for disease. Vigilance is absolutely key to containing and eradicating FMD.

"In order to enable movements of animals we need to do so on the basis of sound epidemiological evidence based on an awareness of what is going on."

The national movement ban remains firmly in place. Limited movements have been permitted outside the Surveillance Zone for animals going direct to slaughter.

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