It was only a couple of days ago that I got around to writing about the reports looking at the origin of the foot and mouth outbreak in Surrey. I also commented in another entry about the unacceptable continuation of beef imports from Brazil because of doubts over that country's procedures. Over here things were looking up with the various restrictions on animal movement being lifted; in fact various sorts of livestock were able to attend the annual Widecombe Fair yesterday. This return to normality coupled with the recent dry spell was at last giving farmers something to smile about.
That was yesterday. Today they have had a hammer blow with the news of a confirmed outbreak of F & M at Egham in Surrey, not too far from the earlier incident. So all the restrictions are going back on. Not so much a welfare problem as back in the dark days of 2001 when it will be recalled the F & M started much earlier in the year but now it is very significantly a devastatingly difficult economic situation for farmers. Apart from those animals ready for the abattoir this is the time of year when stock is moved on to new farms eg cattle reared on the hills sold to lowland farms for fattening.
When the earlier outbreak in Surrey occurred Gordon Brown was looking very decisive by acting as quickly as possible. No doubt he has been hoping that this governments appalling lack of action over the defective biosecuity at Pirbright would slip from our memories. It is up to the opposition parties to harry this government over the issue and not let things be quietly forgotten.
It does seem to me on the face of it that this latest outbreak is related to the ones last month. Let's just hope it can be eradicated quickly.