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ON THE MOVE... FOOT & MOUTH DISEASE SPECIAL IT'S BACK TO WORK AS FMD RESTRICTIONS ARE RELAXED.

Byline: By ANDREW FORGRAVE Rural Affairs Editor

ABATTOIR slaughter-lines should start humming again today after livestock movement curbs were relaxed in England and Wales. Restrictions affecting abattoirs were lifted at midnight to ease the logjam of stock awaiting slaughter.

The decision was made despite confirmation that stock on a farm next to the second infected premises in Surrey had been culled because they were showing signs of the disease.

Wales rural affairs minister Elin Jones, who yesterday met industry representatives, said: "I have consistently said that we would begin to ease restrictions when it was safe to do so and I am now pleased to be in that position."

No multiple pick-ups from farms will be allowed, pre-booking is required and vehicles must be disinfected before movement.

Animals will be inspected by vets at abattoirs and cannot be returned if not killed.

At the start of the week 85 employees at the Welsh Country Foods abattoir, Gaerwen, were laid off after the slaughter hall ground to halt.

Some 30 workers at Cig Cibyn abattoir, Caernarfon, were also sent staff home and a further 17 retained to clean facilities for when trade resumes.

Company director Sian Pritchard said: "Production had been picking up and we slaughtered 8,000 lambs last week compared with 4,500 when we first started.

"We've also developed good customers in the south of France so the export ban is the last thing we needed."

Cardiff also granted a set-aside derogation to give Welsh farmers extra land for livestock affected by FMD restrictions.

In addition producers can harvest hay or silage for their ownuses - but cannot sell fodder to others.

To use the derogation farmers must contact the Caernarfon divisional office with details of the fields they want to graze or harvest.

Also under discussion in Cardiff yesterday was the prospect of opening "red" markets to allow an element of competition back into the red meat sales system.

Such markets could be permitted within three weeks and auctioneers have been asked to draw up proposals.

Gareth Vaughan, president of the Farmers Union of Wales, said: "Red markets would be a one-way ticket for livestock but they are preferable to using auction centres simply as collection centres."

All sheepdog trials have been postponed until further notice.

Are you affected by the current out break? Are you worried that your business might suffer? Send your thoughts and photostofarming@dailypost.co.uk
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 9, 2007
Words:402
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