Movement restrictions lifted for Somerset farmers

LIFE for farmers in Somerset began to return to normal yesterday (Wed) after the ban on movement restrictions and livestock markets was lifted.

LIFE for farmers in Somerset began to return to normal yesterday (Wed) after the ban on movement restrictions and livestock markets was lifted.

The farming industry came to a standstill in August when foot and mouth disease was discovered at a farm in Surrey.

In September the country was declared disease-free, but just days later a new outbreak was found in Surrey and the industry was thrown into chaos.

For almost three months, farmers have been unable to sell their animals in livestock markets, export them or move them between fields.


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Dairy farmer Sheila Franks, of Firtree Farm in Wedmore, said: "We haven't been able to sell our calves for export due to the ban so we've had to keep them.

"It's been a bad summer for farmers weather-wise, without the foot and mouth disease. We have all lost a lot. I just hope it's all behind us now."

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Exports were resumed on October 12 and the National Farmers' Union (NFU) is hoping the latest relaxation of movement controls will help the struggling industry to get back on its feet.

NFU president Peter Kendall said the moves would provide a much-needed boost for livestock farmers, who have faced difficult operating conditions as well as rock-bottom prices for their stock.

He said: "This demonstrates the progress made in discussions aimed at getting the industry back to more normal trading conditions so the markets can work and avoid these disastrous prices continuing."

"However, farmers in high risk FMD areas and the bluetongue zones are still having to operate under very onerous restrictions and we will continue to press for them to be lifted as soon as sound science indicates they should be.

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