Farmer's Outrage over New Powers Shropshire Star

A livestock owner on the Shropshire Powys border accused the government of declaring war on farmers with its nproposed powers to slaughter animals against owners' wishes in future disease outbreaks.
Mr Roy Miller who farms sheep and cattle near Welshpool said he was outraged by the powers that he believed would take away the last safety net farmers have to protect their animals. He claimed that the Welshpool area would have become a wasteland if DEFRA had wielded such powers this year.

"We would have lost a hundred farms in the Welshpool area if we hadn't been able to fight the government and stopped them slaughtering all the animals they claimed could have been infected with Foot and Mouth," said Mr Miller.

In 118 cases where animals were killed, more than half of them came back with negative blood results - even the sheep in Buttington that were dug up and reburied, never had it.
farmers will be left with nothing if the power to kill their animals is given to the government, which has already demonsrtrated incompetence at handling the foot and mouth crisis.
Legislation, which is expected to become law in the new year would prevent farmers, owners of animal refuges and pets mounting legal challenges to contiguous culls as happened this year during the foot and mouth outbreak.
Government officers would also kill scrapie susceptible sheep even if BSE was never found in the national flock.
The government could force owners of sheep that are not resistant to scrapie, a disease harmless to humans, to slaughter or castrate them because a voluntary scheme to breed out the disease would be too slow.

Eliott Morley, the animal health minister, claimed the powers were necessary because legal challenges to the contiguous cull policy had handicapped the fight against foot and mouth. But Mr miller challenged him to find one example in Wales where resistance has resulted in the disease being spread. He said it was the government, not farmers, that allowed the disease to get out of control.
The bill will provide powers to kill any animals the minister thinks should be slaughtered with a view to preventing the spread of any disease - even if they are healthy annd have had no contact with infected animals.