The industry has no choice left but to “batten down the hatches” and temporarily stop movements of animals on or off any farm in England and Wales, the NFU said today.

Reacting to the news that there will be a total ban on livestock movements in Britain for seven days, NFU President Ben Gill said: “This will be hard – but not as hard as if foot and mouth spreads throughout the entire British livestock population.”

The announcement by Agriculture Minister Nick Brown follows a meeting earlier today with NFU representatives to look at what further action could be taken to halt the disease, following its spread to other areas of the country.

Mr Gill said: “This has been a very tough decision but there really was no choice.

“Movement restrictions on every farm are the only way we can ensure that foot and mouth does not spread any further than it has done already.”

He added: “When this situation has been brought under control – and that must be as soon as possible – we need to sit down and look at how this has happened.

“The industry is in no shape to go through this kind of situation again.”