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Friday, 10 August, 2001, 13:51 GMT 14:51 UK
Latest Beacons cull begins
Brecon Beacons
Thousands more sheep will be culled in mid Wales
A further cull of around 3,500 sheep is under way on the Brecon Beacons in mid Wales following the latest blood testing results for foot-and-mouth antibodies.

As the Brecon Jazz festival gets under way just a few miles away, around 3,500 sheep are to be slaughtered in the latest attempt to eradicate the disease from the open hills.

Rural Affairs Minister Carwyn Jones has said the Welsh Assembly must act quickly to stop foot-and-mouth spreading further.

Crisis in Wales
Total confirmed cases UK-wide 1,936 - with 117 in Wales
Powys - 76 cases
Anglesey - 13 cases
Monmouthshire - 21 cases
Caerphilly - 2
Rhondda Cynon Taff - 1
Neath Port Talbot -1
Newport - 3

"There's evidence that the disease is not endemic in the area," he said.

"We must get on top of it on Pen-y-Fan."

The culling of animals on the Great Forest side of the Beacons, ahead of any blood testing, is the equivalent of the contiguous culls which have taken place around farm outbreaks.

While welcoming the action to try to stop the spread, farmers have criticised the governments decision to hold three independent inquiries - but no public investigation - into the crisis once it is over.

Glyn Powell of the Farmers Union of Wales said it has been an "ill-organised campaign" to control foot-and-mouth.

Three new cases of the disease emerged in Wales on Thursday - two in hefted flocks on the Brecon Beacons prompting this renewed cull - and the third in sheep and cattle at a farm at Llwyndu, Abergavenny in Monmouthshire.

Test results

Wales has a total of 117 cases in the outbreak which continues to devastate rural Britain - 76 of them are in Powys.

The latest cull will come as a further blow to the farming community in the Beacons which, in the past few weeks, has witnessed the slaughter of 6,500 sheep.

But officials have insisted they are confident that the mass cull of tens of thousands of animals will not be necessary.

The results of the latest tests in the Brecon Beacons have shown lower levels of antibodies than the five flocks tested earlier in the area.

Assembly officials have said this confirms that the disease is concentrated in the Pen-y-Fan area.

Rural Affairs Minister Carwyn Jones
Carwyn Jones: Disease not endemic

Mr Jones said: "We strongly suspect that the disease is spreading slowly from Pen-y-Fan and that has been born out in the tests that have been carried out so far."

"It indicates how important it is that we cull quickly and that we take appropriate measures, firebreaks, where necessary so the disease doesn't have the chance to spread any further".

See also:

25 Jul 01 | Wales
Disease hits Beacons flocks
31 Jul 01 | Wales
A Brecon farmer's struggle
05 Aug 01 | Wales
Virus testing extended
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