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THE NATIONAL FOOT & MOUTH GROUP

PRESS RELEASE: 9 August 2001

NATIONAL PARK DEVASTATED AS CULL RISES TO OVER 10,000 SHEEP - CONTIGUOUS CULLS COULD CLEAR THE BEACONS

Confusion over how far the disease has spread and which hefted flocks the test results refer to.

The Foot & Mouth Slaughter policy inflicted yet more devastation on the Brecon Beacons this afternoon as it was announced that another 4,000 sheep are to be culled.

The total number of sheep to be slaughtered has now topped the 10,000 figure.

By last Sunday 6,700 sheep had been culled and with today's figure the total will rise to 10,392.

Confusion surrounds the situation. It is unclear which flocks have been tested and what results have come from where. No press release has been issued by the Welsh Assembly to explain what the circumstances are regarding the further cull. An inquiry to the Press Office this afternoon was met with the reply that the latest culls were to be treated as Confirmed Cases and, therefore, Infected Premises.

If this is to be the case DEFRA needs to make clear precisely what its intentions are. The current Government policy would direct the slaughter of an ever increasing number of hefted flocks across the Beacons, as contiguous culls to these new Confirmed Cases.

The damage and destruction to the environment, the economy and the communities of the Brecon Beacons National Park caused by the slaughter and cull policy does not appear to have received any consideration. The idea of re-hefting with full time shepherds may have a romantic allure - but the reality of shepherds being present on the mountains for the years it would take to re-heft appears to have little basis in reality.

Already Pen Y Fan mountain is bereft of sheep, the next few days will see the total sheep population wiped out. Despite assurances that a 'proportionate response' would be applied to the levels of antibodies found, it now appears that DEFRA at Page Street have directed the Welsh Assembly to slaughter regardless of what antibody levels are present, and to treat these hefted flocks as Infected Premises.

Contacts:

Janet Bayley: 01285 644319

Edwin Roderick , Grazier: 01874 636495
07811 266455