CLA Response to Foot and Mouth Disease Outbreak

UK - "It is with a sense of dread and foreboding that the farming industry awaits further details of the confirmed outbreak of foot and mouth disease in Surrey" said Country Land Association President David Fursdon this morning.
calendar icon 4 August 2007
clock icon 2 minute read

"It is also with a sense of hope that the Government will have learned its lessons from the 2001 debacle and will move quickly, as it has already done, to control the disease. For livestock farmers this is the last thing that they need following the disastrous summer weather which has brought flooding to some and prevented many others from making hay and silage for winter feed for livestock. They are already suffering from the high costs of cattle feed due to the rise in the price of cereals and many have their herds under restrictions as a result of bovine TB. At a time when consumers are being persuaded to buy local produce, including meat, image and PR are crucial. The way in which this outbreak is handled is therefore critical.

"Also vital is the impact on diversified rural businesses and rural tourism. Tourism and other related businesses lost £5bn in 2001 as a result of this disease. 60% of holdings in the UK (and 68% in the South East where Foot and Mouth disease has been found) now involve diversification, generating £420 m a year. This represented 22% of total income from farm businesses in 2005/6. This included all forms of accommodation (bed and breakfast, holiday cottages, campsites and caravan parks) as well as shops, restaurants, visitor attractions and equine businesses.

"Careful handling of this outbreak will, I hope, mean that this is not a disaster for British farming but we also have to make sure that it is not a disaster for the wider rural economy" concluded David Fursdon.

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