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Wednesday, 5 September, 2001, 12:43 GMT 13:43 UK
More cases in disease exclusion zone
Slaughtered cattle lie in a field
Nearly three million animals have been slaughtered to date
Two more cases of foot-and-mouth disease have been confirmed in Northumberland bringing the total number in the area during the past two weeks to 19.

The number of outbreaks reported nationally since the crisis began at the end of February 2001 has now reached 2003.

Disease statistics
Cases so far: 2,003
Animals slaughtered: 3,820,000
Awaiting slaughter: 12,000

The new cases were at Bolts Hope farm, in Blanchland, near the border with County Durham, where 345 sheep and 356 lambs will be slaughtered, and Low Ardley farm, near Hexham, where 1,500 sheep and around 300 cattle will be culled.

Both farms fall within Northumberland's tightly controlled 'blue box' area where animal movements are tightly controlled and tough biosecurity measures are in place.

Blow to farmers

The new outbreaks will come as a blow to farmers in the area who were hoping Northumberland's recent cluster of cases had been contained.

These are the first new cases since the weekend.

Government scientists have predicted the outbreak could last until the New Year - sparking fresh calls for a vaccination programme to be implemented.

Some argue that vaccination should completely replace the policy of slaughtering all infected and suspect animals, though more say it should be used to supplement the slaughter policy.

But the government has so far resisted introducing vaccinations for fear that British meat exports would be affected and the country's farming industry would gain a pariah image.

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