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MAFF has granted farmers derogations for livestock grazing on set-aside land to ease the feeding crisis caused by foot and mouth disease movement restrictions after urgent lobbying by the NFU.

MAFF has introduced this emergency derogation on animal welfare grounds ahead of formal ratification by the Commission.

NFU President Ben Gill said "Farmers have been beset with worry over this crisis, and the resulting welfare problems for their animals have added to their distress.

"This derogation will provide vital relief to livestock which have been held in over-grazed fields under the current emergency movement restrictions."

MAFF have issued operating instructions to Regional Service Centres with immediate effect, and farmers will need to notify their RSC of their action.

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