FMD leak under investigation

Industry bosses have expressed concern over reports of a further failure in bio-security controls at Pirbright, the source of this summers foot-and-mouth outbreak.

Reports have claimed a "probable" leak of the virus from the animal health facility, but Stuart Roberts of the BMPA played down the ramifications of a further leak.

"This appears to be have been one control of many that has failed, obviously that is not good enough, but we're relieved it has not got into the environment."

He said the bigger concern was whether the failure would lead to the removal of the centre's SAPO licence, which allows it to work with viruses and diseases.

"We're worried that removal of that licence could effect work being done to develop a vaccine for bluetongue."

The leak, at the Merial laboratory at Pirbright, was revealed in a written statement to the House of Commons by Defra secretary, Hilary Benn.

While he said the virus appeared to be contained by further control measures, Merial's SAPO licence has been suspended. An inspection team will now produce a full report to the acting chief veterinary officer and further action considered, he said.