Looking back... Anxious time for farmers during Foot and Mouth crisis

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Local farmers were being urged to make “no movements of livestock whatsoever” in an attempt to prevent the spread of Foot and Mouth disease in April 2001.

The call came from East Antrim Senior Group Secretary of the Ulster Farmers’ Union, Mr William Cross, following the confirmation that the disease had been detected on a farm in the area.

Mr Cross said farmers were “on tenterhooks” about the possible spread of the disease and he called on everyone to comply with Department of Agriculture restrictions on the movement of animals.

The Department were also urging farmers not to allow cattle and sheep to mix.

Mr Cross echoed this, saying: “The late spring is a blessing as most cattle are not yet out in the fields and we are asking farmers not to put cattle out yet if possible. Farmers should not even move their livestock across a road from field to field and all animals should be kept within one field from the farm boundary.”

East Antrim Assembly Member, Roger Hutchinson also called for tighter measures to prevent the spread He said: “I’d appeal to all farmers to lock their gates to all outsiders and ensure that detergents are used by everyone.”