NFU President Ben Gill is holding a series of detailed talks with the Government on what further measures are needed to bring foot and mouth under control, including how vaccination may play a part.

Mr Gill spent several hours at the Ministry of Agriculture earlier today in discussions on what steps now need to be taken.

He is returning to MAFF this afternoon for what is expected to be another lengthy meeting and also intends to meet the Prime Minister in the next 24 hours to go through the situation.

Agriculture Minister Nick Brown announced yesterday that he was seeking a contingent decision from the European Standing Veterinary Committee, currently meeting in Brussels, permitting the limited use of vaccination should it be concluded that this is the right approach.

But Mr Gill has stressed to Government that it is vital that farmers are fully briefed if there are any variations to the plans already announced to rein in the disease before any action is taken.

He said: "I have continued to stress that the views and feelings of local farmers are absolutely critical in this. It is they who will have to live with the results of any further action, including any limited use of vaccination.

"Each area is different and they deserve nothing less than to be fully briefed on the Government's plans as soon as possible."

He said what is absolutely crucial is that everyone remains closely focussed on the twin objectives of reducing identification to slaughter time to 24 hours and culling all animals in neighbouring farms within a further 24 hours.

Mr Gill added: "This approach offers the only way to turn the rising daily total number of cases around and enter a period of steady decline in numbers.

"Our discussions with Government are to establish the best, most effective and quickest route to achieving these objectives, taking into account the local variations of the disease across the country."

Although every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information provided in this document, the NFU cannot accept liability for errors and omissions.  This information should not be regarded as constituting legal advice, and should therefore not be relied upon as such.  NFU©