Compensation package for farmers unveiled

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The Independent Online
More than £600m has been earmarked to help farmers hit hard by the foot⿓and⿓mouth outbreak, the Government was announced today. More than £600m has been earmarked to help farmers hit hard by the foot⿓and⿓mouth outbreak, the Government was announced today.

Although the pace of new cases of the highly contagious livestock ailment appeared to be slowing – two fresh outbreaks were reported by midafternoon today, bringing the total to 1,137 – authorities warned against complacency.

In the course of the nearly 2–month–old outbreak, reports of new cases have sometimes reached dozens per day. Struggling to stamp out the epidemic, authorities have slaughtered or marked for destruction hundreds of thousands of animals, with the total expected to reach 1 million.

The compensation package for farmers, unveiled by Agriculture Minister Nick Brown to lawmakers, consists of direct compensation for slaughtered animals, animal welfare and other programs.

Meanwhile, Tony Blair held talks today with the country's chief veterinarian, Jim Scudamore, and the president of the National Farmers Union, Ben Gill.

"I'm concerned, but I'm also very optimistic on the back of the total number of cases in the country continuing to gradually fall," Gill said. "What we must ensure is that these new cases do not become bigger outbreaks in themselves."

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