Agriculture Minister Nick Brown announced a major review of the safeguards in place to cut the risks of future animal disease outbreaks.

The review will look at:

  • how the current outbreak of foot and mouth began and what can be learned from this;

  • the current enforcement and control measures that are in place;

  • the implications of increased world travel, the globalisation of trade and modern farming methods on issues of disease control.

Speaking at his daily briefing on the progress in tackling the epidemic, Mr Brown said:

“The first priority for this Ministry and our veterinary service – which is being assisted from vets from around the world – is the eradication of foot and mouth as quickly as possible.

“But for the longer-term I want to look very carefully at whether changes in the pattern of trade and increases in movements are making the country more susceptible to animal disease.

“I am looking for a thorough review of the issues to see whether changes need to be made and more controls need to be put in place.

“This also applies to enforcement of controls; whatever the cause of foot and mouth disease – and classical swine fever – it is likely to be the result of somebody, knowingly or not, acting illegally.”

Mr Brown added that he had secured rapid EU Commission approval to the payment of the £156m agri-monetary payments compensation announced on 27 February and that farmers would receive these sums earlier than expected. Full details will be announced next week. published a feature on foot and mouth. To read it, click here.