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The NFU has warned everyone thinking of going into rural areas to take thegreatest possible care following Government guidelines released today advising the public of places that they can visit.

It would be premature if people thought they were again free to roam the countryside even in areas currently unaffected by the foot and mouth disease, said NFU President Ben Gill.

Mr Gill said: "Whilst this is a useful guide, everyone must remember foot and mouth disease still poses a terrifying threat to farmers.

"It is vital that the public realises that they should stay away from all livestock and land used by livestock in every part of the UK.

"Any signs prohibiting access to land and closed rights of way must be obeyed if we are to prevent this disease from spreading any further.

"The public needs to exercise extreme caution when contemplating visiting rural attractions, the countryside or pursuing countryside pastimes. People should contact the relevant organisation* to check if they are able to engage in the relevant activity."

Other important Government guidelines include not leaving any waste food in open countryside or on farmland and not letting your dog off its lead as it may cause animal movements.

Mr Gill added: "We would once again like to thank the general public for their support during this crisis. If people continue to behave responsibly in line with this guidance they will help us in our efforts to combat this virulent disease."

A list of relevant organisations is listed below.

Notes to Editors:
*The Caravan Club on 01342 326944
The Camping and Caravanning Club on 02476 694995
British Cycling Federation on 0161 230 2301
The Ramblers Association on 020 7339 8500
The British Horse Society on 08701 202 244
The British Canoe Union on 0115 9821100
The Farm Holiday Bureau on 024 7669 6909
Association of National Parks Authorities on 01647 440245
The National Trust - property enquiries on 0870 458 4000

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