Foot and mouth breaches indefensible

THe NFU has described the breaches of basic biosecurity safeguards at Pirbright as "indefensible."

Speaking in reaction to the two official reports published on the origin of the foot and mouth outbreak in Surrey, NFU president Peter Kendall said that it was incredible that such poor standards could be found in facilities that handle two of the most dangerous animal viruses on the planet.

"This outbreak has cost the British livestock industry tens of millions of pounds and it is inevitable that farmers, and many others, will be asking lawyers to consider the case for seeking compensation through the courts for the losses they have suffered," he said.

Kendall commended Defra and the industry for containing and eradicating the disease and getting the livestock industry back to something like normal within the shortest possible time.

But he added: "This should never been necessary. This is an outbreak that should never have happened.

"Pirbright is a vitally important research facility for the UK, society and livestock industry. We will be participating in the government's review of the regulatory and security arrangements at the site and will support whatever programme of actions and reinvestment that may be necessary to bring biosecurity standards up to scratch."

Following Defra's final epidemiological report all surveillance and control zone restrictions have now been lifted.

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