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Friday, 21 November 2014

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County praised for reaction to foot-and-mouth

THE resilience of Cumbria farmers to rebuild their lives after the devastating foot-and-mouth outbreak 10 years ago has been praised in Parliament.

As the 10th anniversary approaches this month, Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron has put down a Parliamentary motion commending the way communities worked together to overcome the problems caused to British agriculture and tourism.

The outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease devastated farms across the UK in 2001.

Cumbria was the worst affected area of the country, with 843 cases.

Mr Farron said: “Foot-and-mouth was a devastating blow to Cumbria and something that must never happen again. I saw the heartbreak at close quarters.

“Seeing farmers who had worked all their lives having to give up their prized livestock is something that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

“However, in those dark times, you got to see Cumbria at it’s best, communities coming together, supporting one another and pulling through.

“There are still things that we can do now to reduce the possibility of such an outbreak ever happening again. We need better import controls to make sure we never get another crisis, so we can trace animals easily and quickly.

“We also need to remember that the biggest blow to farming has come in the form of the many regulations and restrictions that have long outlived foot-and-mouth and may do as much damage to farming as foot-and-mouth itself. In particular, the six-day movement rule on livestock movement is an unnecessary and damaging restriction that should be removed when we are not in a time of crisis.

“Likewise, the introduction of electronic tagging for sheep is damaging over-reaction that does not protect bio-security but does hugely add to farmers’ costs.”

Foot-and-mouth was estimated to have cost the economy £8bn.

The Evening Mail will be running a series of spreads about the disaster, its impact and what lessons have been learned.

We want to hear your foot-and-mouth memories.

Email news.em@nwemail.co.uk.

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