Interim arrangements covering 2002 will be subject to review later in the year, minister for environment and rural development Ross Finnie said.
'Since the last infected case in Scotland on 30 May 2001, movement controls have been progressively relaxed. In designing these distinctly Scottish measures I believe it responsible and prudent to retain a degree of vigilance against this highly infectious disease.'
The main proposals include:
-- maintain during 2002 the principle of the 20 day movement standstill
-- allow from mid-February a number of limited exemptions to the 20 day standstill
-- from 18 March for cattle, and 18 May for sheep, an option to apply the 20 day standstill only to animals brought onto the farm - or to animals to be moved off - and not to the rest of the animals on the holding on condition that they are kept separate and that the biosecurity measures are observed.
In addition to these proposals the minister also outlined a number of other actions he believes are essential in the fight against the reoccurrence of FMD including:
-- stronger controls over imported meat and meat products. These imports are the most likely sources of the reintroduction of infection into this country
-- stopping the rapid movement of traded animals. A higher level of biosecurity should apply where markets are held and measures are already in place with the support of the Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers to achieve this enhancing on-farm biosecurity generally. Work in preparing an on-farm biosecurity code is now underway.
The review is likely to take account of any relevant recommendations by the various Inquiries set up to review the FMD outbreak. The EU is likely also this year to consider proposals for prevention and control of FMD. Any measures agreed at an EU level will be taken into account.
From mid-February limited exemptions from the 20-day restriction will apply to breeding animals, calves, foster lambs and kids, away wintered animals, common land, show animals, animals for import and export and movements to slaughter. In addition, animals that are held separately (either animals brought onto the farm or those being moved off) can also be exempted from the 20 day standstill provided strict biosecurity is observed. These exemptions apply from 18 March for cattle and 18 May for sheep. Detailed rules will be prepared in due course.
The revised rules applying to the 20 day standstill will be incorporated in new legislation made under Section 8 of the Animal Health Act 1981.
This new legislation, in addition to incorporating the provision covering the 20 day standstill, will carry over important provisions from the existing Foot and Mouth Orders, including the powers to make the General Licences which will apply to the susceptible species. New measures to help identify, trace and record sheep and goats will also be included. Details are being worked up with industry interests and a producer letter will issue shortly explaining the arrangements. The new legislation should be in place by mid-February.
The deadline for contributions to the consultation is Wednesday 31 January.