Farmers sue labs over foot-and-mouth

Pa
Friday 17 October 2008 10:53
Comments

A group of farmers have launched a legal claim against two laboratories blamed for last year's outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, it was announced today.

The case has been formally launched in the High Court by 14 livestock farmers whose businesses were affected by the outbreak in Normandy, Surrey, in August last year.

The claim has been brought against the Institute for Animal Health and Merial Animal Health Limited as operators of the Pirbright facility, and Defra Secretary Hilary Benn as licensor and regulator of the facility.

The claim alleges that IAH and Merial were negligent in that they caused or permitted the foot and mouth disease virus to escape from the Pirbright facility. It also alleges that the Secretary of State was negligent in that he failed to properly licence or regulate the facility's operation.

The losses claimed by the farmers include the slaughter of livestock and the disposal of livestock products, as well as losses incurred through being unable to move livestock on or off farms.

Both labs have denied any failure in their duty of care while the Government has denied any negligence. The claim is supported by the National Farmers Union (NFU) who have instructed solicitors on behalf of the group.

Those claiming include farmers close to the outbreak whose animals were slaughtered, as well as those further afield including sheep farmers from Cumbria and Powys and a pig breeding business from Yorkshire.

NFU president Peter Kendall said: "Many farming businesses were devastated by the impacts of the outbreak and this claim is about getting redress for those farmers.

"The effects of the outbreak were crippling for livestock farmers - milk had to be poured away, herds that had taken generations to breed had to be slaughtered, high quality livestock couldn't be exported or sold for breeding and instead had to go to slaughter, and animals couldn't be moved to fresh grazing and had to be left where they were.

"For many farmers, the impacts of the outbreak are still being felt today.

"This was not a case of foot and mouth disease coming in through our borders. The outbreak came from the Pirbright facility.

"Had there been proper biosecurity and containment measures in place at Pirbright, this outbreak wouldn't have happened. This claim is about holding to account those who were responsible."

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in