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NFU Welcomes Easing Of Some Livestock Movement Controls

The NFU today welcomed DEFRA's announcement that some of the strict foot and
mouth controls on animal movements still in place across the country can be
further relaxed from 11 February.

The interim movement regime has been drawn up following lengthy talks
between DEFRA and the NFU. It will allow livestock markets to
re-open for cattle, but only for pigs and sheep going to slaughter. Strict
bio-security measures will also apply.

Cattle and pig movements will not now need a pre-approved movement licence.
A licence will, however, be needed for sheep in advance of any movement,
unless they are going for slaughter.

NFU lobbying means farmers using their own vehicle to move their animals
will be able to carry out cleansing and disinfection on farm. This will
remove a significant cost to farmers and ease logistical problems.

Current conditions relating to the shearing, dipping and scanning of sheep
will continue to apply, as will the need for individual licences to move
sheep from one farm to another.

NFU Deputy President Tim Bennett said: "This is an important next step for
the industry following on from the recent clearance given to the UK by the

"It also comes at a time when the movement of livestock steps up a gear as
spring approaches."

Tim Bennett added: "We have accepted the advice of vets regarding the need
for continued caution, particularly during the lambing period.

"It will be important for farmers to maintain bio-security measures during
this critical period. However, once we have successfully cleared the hurdle
of lambing, farmers will demand these interim controls are reviewed further
and removed as soon as is practical."

In the meantime, the NFU has been able to negotiate a number of exemptions
from the 20-day standstill restriction, including the movement of breeding
bulls, young calves and sheep returning from tack.

The NFU has also been pressing DEFRA to ensure all preparatory work is
complete before the new measures are introduced to avoid causing any further
unnecessary disruption to farmers.

Tim Bennett said: "Farmers have had to contend with rigorous controls that
have impacted heavily on their businesses for almost a year now.

"It is essential that these welcome changes are well communicated and
administered so that we can get on with the business of re-building our
livestock industry."

*The OIE - Office International des Epizooties, based in Paris.

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