NFU President Ben Gill will meet with the Prime Minister this afternoon to discuss the panic sweeping the farming community as more cases of foot and mouth disease emerge.


Mr Gill will tell Tony Blair that the situation is becoming more serious as every hour passes.


Mr Gill said: “It is a measure of the gravity of the situation that the Prime Minister has asked to see me today to run through the frightening scenario and how it is developing.


“This is a nightmare for the whole farming community. People are scared out of their wits.”


The meeting at Downing Street at 5pm follows talks earlier today with Agriculture Minister Nick Brown at which Mr Gill outlined a number of issues of concern.


At that meeting, Mr Brown and Mr Gill talked about the worrying spread of the disease and the need to ensure that the valuation, slaughter and incineration of animals happens as quickly as possible.


Mr Gill stressed once more that it is absolutely vital that members of the public and media stay out of the countryside until the disease has been stamped out because of the risk of it spreading on clothes, shoes and vehicles. There are no implications for the human food chain.


Mr Gill said: “The NFU will be talking to local authorities in the affected areas to ask them to look at how they can minimise public access to high risk areas. Drastic problems call for drastic solutions.


They also discussed the likely continuing ban on movements on and off farm after the deadline expires on Friday and what action could be taken to alleviate the tremendous problems this will cause.


Mr Gill said: “We have to work on the grim assumption that the ban will still be in place with all the ensuing difficulties from this.


“But we both agreed that the clear priority now, over and above the very serious concerns that farmers rightly have, is to exterminate this dreadful disease.”
 
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©