New cull fears for 40,000 Welsh sheep

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The Independent Online

The Welsh authorities ordered the slaughter of 4,000 sheep yesterday after blood tests revealed the animals may have been exposed to foot-and-mouth disease.

The culling plan for the Brecon Beacons raised fears that a cull of the 40,000 sheep grazing in the hills of south and central Wales may be necessary.

Welsh Rural Affairs Minister Carwyn Jones said: "We have received test results for 4,000 sheep and I am afraid there are significant numbers of positive results in all the areas tested."

Mr Jones said the loss of the sheep would have serious environmental consequences for the area. The blood tests were carried out after a cluster of cases in the nearby village of Libanus. The sheep were brought down from the mountains last Saturday and testing began on Sunday.

Since the first case of foot-and-mouth disease was reported in February, more than 320,000 sheep, cows, pigs and goats have been slaughtered in Wales, where 108 cases of the disease have been reported. Across all of Britain, more than 3.5 million sheep, cows and pigs have been slaughtered.

* A tourism college will be opened in the Lake District, the Government will announce today, as part of a drive to revive the area in the aftermath of foot-and-mouth disease.