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NFC: Fears Grow As Mass UK Cattle Slaughter Contaminates Water (fwd)

>Fears Grow As Mass UK Cattle
>Slaughter Contaminates Water
>Kamal Ahmed - Political Editor
>The Observer - London
>         A government agency is investigating the first 'Category 1' water 
>pollution incident connected to the foot-and-mouth crisis.
>         Hundreds of fish have been killed in a fresh water course in 
>Anglesey after disinfectant used during a cull of cattle leaked into a 
>         The incident is the first evidence of the serious environmental 
>damage experts believe the mass cull of cattle and sheep may create if it 
>is not handled more carefully.
>         An Environment Agency spokesman said that restrictions on movement 
>around the country were hampering its investigations into the incident in 
>which hundreds of trout and eel died. He said that there had also been a 
>number of more minor pollution breaches which had been caused by blood and 
>animal waste leaking into rivers.
>         The Government was facing more criticism last night over the plans 
>to bury tens of thousands of sheep and cattle after it was revealed that a 
>similar policy in America had led to an environmental disaster.
>         Up to a million chickens, pigs and cattle were buried in pits in 
>North Carolina after Hurricane Floyd wreaked havoc in 1999. The policy has 
>led to contamination of thousands of wells which the state relies on for 
>its water supply. Levels of illnesses in the local population have also 
>         'If you do it wrong now you will be living with the consequences 
>for the next 15 years,' said Elliott Moorhead, the chief executive of 
>NanoVapor and one of America's leading experts in animal waste disposal.
>         'What you are basically building is a pit where diseases can 
>breed. It is a potential disaster.'
>         News of the pollution outbreak will damage the Prime Minister's 
>attempts to re-invigorate Britain's tourism industry which has been hit 
>hard by the foot-and-mouth crisis.
>         A Downing Street official admitted that pictures of dead fish 
>floating in rivers was not 'the kind of imagery that will sell well 
>         Tony Blair is getting increasingly frustrated at the lack of 
>action on opening up the countryside. County councils across the country 
>said yesterday that they would refuse to open up footpaths and access to 
>the countryside despite orders from Downing Street.
>         'There is no evidence that any case of infection has been caused 
>by walkers, by visitors, or by people not in contact with livestock,' the 
>Environment Minister, Beverley Grant, said yesterday.
>         'This means that local authorities and others ought to be basing 
>their assessment of how far they can open up the countryside on that 
>scientific evidence.'
>         The first evidence that the burial programme was facing serious 
>environmental problems came last week when Maff admitted that it would have 
>to dig up the carcasses of almost 900 sheep and cattle because they had 
>been disposed of in the wrong site.
>         The carcasses had been buried a few metres away from a fresh water 
>spring at Tow Law, Co Durham, despite orders from the Environment Agency 
>that the area should not be used.
>         Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister Nick Brown played down the role 
>that a Chinese restaurant may have played in the foot-and-mouth outbreak. 
>His department had previously highlighted illegal imports of meat from 
>China as the most probably source of the disease, the reporting of which 
>resulted in a 40 per cent fall in the takings of Chinese restaurants, many 
>of which received racist phonecalls.
>         However, in a meeting with delegates of the Chinese Civil Rights 
>Action Group he said there was currently no evidence linking the outbreak 
>with imported Chinese meat. In an official statement, he failed to rule out 
>a Chinese restaurant as a possible source, but said: 'It would be totally 
>unfair to make a scapegoat of the Chinese community or Chinese restaurants. 
>The investigations into the source of the outbreak are still continuing, 
>and ill-informed, groundless speculation does nothing to help the