Adverts: 0161 709 4576 - Editorial: 0161 709 4571
Mail Order: 0161 709 4578 - Subs: 0161 709 4575 - Webteam: 0161 709 4567
updated 2/11/01
1.5bn bill for FMD epidemic

THE GOVERNMENT'S former agriculture department now called DEFRA has a bill 1.5 billion following the foot and mouth epidemic.

In addition the Ministry of Defence has yet to bill the government for at least 12 million worth of work under the Livestock Welfare Disposal Scheme.

Meanwhile farmers are urging the government to allow the resumption of fox hunting in areas where restrictions have been applied.

Fox hunting was voluntarily suspended on February 22nd last to help in the controls implemented at the time.

Farmers have reported an increase in the fox population, particularly in Wales, and last week were angry that ministers had not published the veterinary assessment of the risks of hunting spreading the disease.

For their part anti-hunting and welfare groups are urging the government to place the proposed hunting with dogs legislation before parliament again.

Mr Tony Banks and other cabinet ministers have urged the Prime Minister to pursue the ban and not to use other factors as an excuse not to go ahead.

• In Scotland MSPs have lodged more than 40 amendments to the Bill to ban fox hunting in Scotland including a proposal to set up a QUANGO to control the use of dogs in the countryside. The Bill, due to return to MSPs during the winter months, is to be put before the Scottish Parliament's Rural Development Committee with the planned changes next week.