Foot and mouth lessons learned in Wales, says top vet

Image caption,
Access to the countryside was severely restricted during the outbreak

Wales is well prepared should foot and mouth strike again, says the nation's top vet, 10 years since the disease badly affected rural areas.

Chief veterinary officer Christianne Glossop says immediate action would be needed if the disease strikes again.

She said: "We learned valuable lessons from that outbreak and have much tighter animal movement controls in place as a result."

The disease lasted seven months in 2001, and 6m UK animals were culled.

The cost of the outbreak to the taxpayer across the UK was put at £3bn.

Prof Glossop said the large scale events of 2001 led to animal health and welfare powers being devolved to Wales in 2006, so that the nation could react at a local level.

She said: "The distressing sight of burning carcases in 2001 should not be repeated.

"We have alternative disposal arrangements in place, in case of future outbreaks, involving rendering and commercial incineration.

"The Welsh Assembly Government published its own contingency plans for the first time in 2003, and their effectiveness is regularly tested, and kept up to date.

"We all hope that FMD never strikes in Great Britain again.

"But if it did, I believe that we are well prepared to do everything we can to minimise the impact on our livestock, our farming communities and on our country."

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