The stubborn rump of the foot and mouth outbreak will only be eradicated by maintaining the strictest disease control precautions to the very end, NFU President Ben Gill said yesterday.

The warm weather of the next few months - which helps to kill the virus - provides the best chance yet to stamp it out once and for all, he said.

Mr Gill was speaking at the launch of the Stop the Spread campaign to blitz the disease by Food and Farming Minister Lord Whitty and Animal Health Minister Elliot Morley of the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The campaign will involve sending a video and leaflet setting out the best ways of beating the disease to more than 90,000 livestock farmers in England.

Industry organisations like animal feed firms and dairy companies, vets and MPs will also be enlisted to spread the message that everyone in at risk areas must keep up disease control measures.

Mr Gill said: "We have to take advantage of the summer to give this virus nowhere to hide. The tail of the disease is proving very stubborn but if we cannot get it beaten by the autumn then we will be in serious trouble.

"There is simply no other way to stop it spreading than for everyone - from farmers themselves to the postmen who deliver their mail - to keep up their guard.

"The points on this video may seem obvious but after so many months of maintaining this tortuous regime we all need to be reminded of how effective the most simple measures can be."

Several key points are pressed home in the video including the need to:

  • Keep cattle and sheep separate.
  • Keep all vehicles off land used by livestock.
  • Clean and disinfect all vehicles - and people - that come onto the farm.
  • Only help out on neighbouring farms if absolutely essential. 

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©