South Scotland

Timeline: Foot-and-mouth crisis in Scotland

Image caption Hundreds of thousands of animals were culled in Scotland when the 2001 foot-and-mouth outbreak reached its peak

In February 2001 the first hint that foot-and-mouth had reached the UK came when an inspection at an abattoir in Essex showed highly suspicious signs of the disease in 27 pigs.

It quickly spread and there were immediate fears it could reach Scotland, which turned out to be the case within a matter of days.

Dumfries and Galloway bore the brunt of an outbreak which devastated the farming industry.

28 February 2001

MSPs were told there was a "severe risk" of the foot-and-mouth outbreak spreading to Scotland.

In an emergency statement to the Scottish Parliament, Rural Affairs Minister Ross Finnie said that 41 farms were under supervision north of the border.

No cases had been confirmed in Scotland, but a ban on the movement of livestock was to be extended for a further two weeks.

1 March 2001

Image caption Restrictions were put in place throughout the UK in a bid to stop the outbreak spreading

Scotland's first cases of foot-and-mouth disease were confirmed following tests on two farms.

The disease was detected at Netherplace Farm in Lockerbie and Parkhouse Farm in Canonbie, both in Dumfries and Galloway, the Scottish Executive said.

Further tests were being carried out on other farms.

Scottish NFU president Jim Walker said confirmation that the disease had reached Scotland was "a tragedy for the whole industry".

4 March 2001

Funeral pyres were lit on two farms in Scotland to incinerate animals affected by the foot-and-mouth crisis.

The fires were lit at Netherplace Farm in Lockerbie and Parkhouse Farm in Canonbie after the disease was confirmed on both farms, according to Dumfries and Galloway Police.

Five more possible cases of foot-and-mouth disease were being investigated north of the border.

7 March 2001

Tourists were urged to continue their visits to the area of Scotland most affected by the foot-and-mouth outbreak.

Dumfries and Galloway Tourist Board said tourists planning to visit the area should not cancel their trips.

The plea came as Scotland's ninth case of the disease was confirmed near Dumfries.

15 March 2001

Image caption Farmers throughout the region lost their stock as the cull of animals progressed

Rural Affairs Minister Ross Finnie announced measures to slaughter 200,000 Scottish sheep as part of a drastic plan to stop the spread of foot-and-mouth disease.

The cull would take place on farms within 3km of an infected area and on any livestock with a traceable connection to centres of infection.

The measure was to be implemented after it was found that sheep could act as "reservoirs" for the disease without showing any visible symptoms.

16 March 2001

First Minister Henry McLeish promised the Scottish Executive would look favourably on any request for extra resources to deal with the foot-and-mouth outbreak and its consequences in Dumfries and Galloway.

Mr McLeish was speaking on a visit to the affected area with Scottish Secretary Helen Liddell and Rural Development Minister Ross Finnie.

Their visit was welcomed by council leaders and representatives from the local National Farmers Union.

All Scotland's 34 cases of the disease had so far been located in the region.

22 March 2001

Image caption The Army was brought in to help prepare a burial pit for thousands of animals being culled

The Army was brought in to Dumfries and Galloway to help with the pre-emptive cull of up to 200,000 sheep.

First Minister Henry McLeish told MSPs in the Scottish Parliament that the Ministry of Defence had agreed to a request for assistance in the area.

Army personnel offered logistical support, by helping to organise the slaughter of animals across the region.

31 March 2001

Prime Minister Tony Blair praised the efforts of people in Dumfries and Galloway in dealing with the foot-and-mouth outbreak.

On a visit to Scotland's worst-affected region, Mr Blair described the "huge spirit of co-operation, partnership and determination" he found among those he met.

And he said the government was "gearing up" its response to the disease.

The Prime Minister was speaking after talks with 20 people, including farmers caught up in the worst of the outbreak, local tourism and business interests in Dumfries - and council and veterinary experts fighting the disease.

9 April 2001

The owner of a pet goat was arrested for allegedly biting a policeman after the animal was given a lethal injection as part of the foot-and-mouth cull in Dumfriesshire.

The family pet, named Misty, was put down by vets on the orders of government officials.

It was alleged that police kept the family chatting while vets destroyed the goat, which was kept locked in the family's barn.

28 April 2001

A pet pig, called Porky by its owners, escaped slaughter after vets said the risk of it being infected by foot-and-mouth disease was "low".

Porky, which was owned by George and Sadie Stone, from Ruthwell Station, Dumfries, was due to be culled as it fell within 3km of an infected farm.

4 May 2001

Image caption Carolyn Hoffe failed in her attempt to stop the slaughter of her sheep by barricading them in her home

Vets began slaughtering five pet sheep which had been kept in their owner's house for five days.

Earlier, Carolyn Hoffe failed in her attempt to stop the slaughter of her sheep as part of the pre-emptive cull against foot-and-mouth disease.

Mrs Hoffe had lodged a petition at the Court of Session in Edinburgh to stop the action by agriculture officials, but to no avail.

She had barricaded herself and her five Dutch Zwartbles sheep in her home in Glasserton, in Dumfries and Galloway.

15 May 2001

The owner of a Scottish animal sanctuary spoke of her joy after learning that her livestock had won a reprieve from the foot-and-mouth cull.

Juanita Wilson, who runs Mossburn Animal Sanctuary in Hightae, near Lockerbie, was due to return to court in an attempt to save her 14 goats and three sheep from slaughter.

But a decision by Rural Affairs Minister Ross Finnie to proceed with slaughter on a case-by-case basis gave Ms Wilson's animals a reprieve.

7 June 2001

Scottish farmers' union leader Jim Walker visited Dumfries and Galloway to hear from grassroots members how the industry could be regenerated.

It was nearly 100 days since foot-and-mouth disease arrived in Scotland.

Since the first Scottish case at Lockerbie on 1 March there had been 187 confirmed cases across Dumfries and Galloway and the Borders.

In total about 1,500 farms had lost 750,000 animals.

6 August 2001

The Scottish NFU defended payouts to farmers affected by the foot-and-mouth crisis.

A row over compensation levels blew up when the UK government confirmed that it had received individual claims of more than £1m from 37 farmers.

Attention focused in particular on Dumfriesshire farmer Jim Goldie who was said to have received a £4.2m handout.

30 August 2001

Image caption After 90 days without a new case, farming leaders began to push for the lifting of export bans

Farming leaders in Scotland were pressing for disease-free status and the lifting of export bans after 90 days without a foot-and-mouth case.

The last case confirmed in Scotland was on 30 May.

Farmers said Scotland's rural development minister Ross Finnie should now press European officials for a lifting of the ban on meat exports.

It would take some time for that to occur.

14 January 2002

With no outbreak for three months and negative tests on sheep flocks in Northumberland, the county where foot-and-mouth was initially traced, Britain declared itself free of foot-and-mouth from midnight.

International clearance and a resumption of trading status was expected to take longer, possibly months.