The slaughter of around 4,000 sheep is to begin today in Wales to combat a pocket of foot and mouth that has emerged in the Brecon Beacons. Blood tests conducted on flocks of sheep in the region revealed that significant numbers had been exposed to the virus which causes the disease. Tests are being carried out on a further 6,000 sheep, which could also be culled if the results indicate exposure to the virus.

112 of the 4,000 sheep tested proved positive for traces of the disease, while others merely had high levels of antibodies, indicating exposure. Some farmers called for a less drastic cull, but agreed to cooperate after talks with officials from the Welsh Assembly, reported the BBC.

Since the beginning of the outbreak, 1,895 cases of foot and mouth were confirmed in the UK, and 3.6 million have been slaughtered.