The Ministry of Agriculture has advised the public throughout the country to postpone unnecessary visits which might bring them in to contact with livestock farms until the Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak is over.

Farmers should reduce outside contact with livestock and their farms to a minimum and operate the highest standards of hygiene.

The FMD virus can be easily spread between animals and members of the public should not do anything which increases the risk.

Agriculture Minister Nick Brown said:

“Foot and mouth disease poses a potentially very serious risk to livestock farmers across the country. Ministry vets are urgently trying to establish whether the disease exists elsewhere in the country. “I would like to appeal to the public – particularly in the infected areas – to minimise the risks of spread; for the public this involves reducing contact with livestock and farms; for farmers it means operating the highest standards of hygiene. “I very much hope that this will apply for the shortest possible period of time and that the outbreak can be contained.”

Farmers outside infected areas are being advised:

– to maintain the highest standards of hygiene involving movements on and off farms;

– limit vehicle movements and visits on farm to a minimum;

– limit the places on the farm where people can visit and only allow essential personnel to visit stock;

– limit contact with other livestock and wash and disinfect when returning to their own livestock.

In infected areas:

Before leaving the infected areas, they should:

– disinfect all footwear used;

– wear clothes which have had no possible contact with farm stock;

– wash with plenty of hot water and soap;

– disinfect the outside of any item – for examples vehicles – that may have been in contact with other articles in general use on the farm.

People resident in towns in infected areas and having no contact with farm animals need take no special precautions but:

– should keep away from farm animals, travel on main roads where possible, respect any warning signs regarding disease;

– visits to farms should be restricted to the essential and be subject top disinfection routines;

– persons from rural parts of infected areas should not go on land where there is livestock;

– meetings of farmers and farm workers who have contact with susceptible animals should not be held in infected areas.

Dog owners in affected areas should keep their dogs under control and where they cannot escape.

Although horses are not susceptible to infection from foot and mouth, they can been involved in spreading it by infected material sticking to their hooves and by driving infected wild animals from their home areas. Certain pursuits are prohibited in infected areas. This includes hunting, point to point, racing and training of dogs or hounds and any other sport or recreational activity which may cause spread of disease.

Notes for Editors

Full advice is on the Ministry website at There is a Foot and Mouth Disease Helpline during office hours and Saturday mornings on 0845 0504141.