Foot-and-mouth flare up feared in Kent

Fears that foot-and-mouth could be spreading flared up again today with the announcement that an exclusion zone was being set up around a farm in Kent.

A statement from Defra said: "This morning a 3km radius Temporary Control Zone has been put around

one premises in Kent outside of the existing Surveillance Zone in Surrey.

"This precautionary measure follows an inconclusive assessment of clinical symptoms by Animal Health veterinary staff. The nationalmovement ban remains in place. In addition, in the Temporary Control Zone, general licences will not apply for the movement of animals to slaughter and collection of dead animals from farms."

Debby Reynolds, Chief Veterinary Officer, said: "The containment and eradication of FMD remains our priority. This is why we have moved swiftly to put in place a Temporary Control Zone while we investigate this development in Kent. At this stage disease has not been confirmed, laboratory results will follow.

"We are in a crucial week for vigilance and planning next steps. Today's developments are part of our ongoing surveillance and testing and I would take this opportunity to reiterate the need for the highest standards of biosecurity on farms, and for people to remain vigilant for disease and report any suspicions quickly."

It was reported that three cattle had been tested for foot and mouth after showing possible symptoms.

However, further reports are playing down the likelihood that the animals will test positive. Exports point out that with the movement ban in place, the only way the virus could have spread was through the air, however the distance between the original outbreak and the new suspect farm made it unlikely.

Farming leaders are urging people not to jump to conclusions and suggest the incident may be just a false alarm.