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Farmers Mark First Anniversary Of Foot and Mouth

The foot and mouth outbreak has demonstrated farmers' amazing resilience and
courage, NFU President Ben Gill said today ahead of the first anniversary of
the disaster.

It will be one year on Wednesday since the first case of the disease that
was to bring the British countryside to its knees was first identified.

Twelve months - and more than 2,000 cases - later, a thousand farmers hit by
the disaster have started re-stocking their farms with another 7,000 now
eligible to begin doing the same.

The country has been recognised as clear of the disease not only by the
European but also the world authorities. And domestic restrictions on
movements were reduced this month, including the re-opening of the first
livestock market last Tuesday (12 February).

Mr Gill said: "The foot and mouth outbreak has demonstrated British farmers'
amazing resilience and ability to fight back from what has been a
catastrophic situation.

"That more than a thousand have found the will to try to resurrect their
businesses in some shape or form is testament to this determination.

"It has been a year of unparalleled suffering in the farming community but
also of unparalleled courage and spirit. Thankfully, we are looking forward
to a very different spring from the appalling one we went through last year.

"We must now ensure that we see this through to the very end. There is a
need for continued caution through the lambing period. Once this hurdle has
been cleared, farmers will expect that the last remaining controls in place
are reviewed and removed as soon as possible."

He added: "Our goal now is to stop this from ever happening again by
ensuring that the country's controls to prevent illegal imports are brought
up to scratch. It is a travesty that, one year on, the situation has not
markedly improved.

"Every lesson that needs to be learned about how to prevent and fight such
awful diseases in the future must be engraved into the minds of the industry
and Government."


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