One hundred days after the first outbreak of foot and mouth NFU President Ben Gill has reflected on how the disease has taken its toll on farmers.

Mr Gill said: "It's been 100 days of sheer hell.

"Cases of foot and mouth are still occurring daily and the new hotspots show how critical it is to keep our guard up.

"Farmers are doing everything they can to wipe out the disease. For example, in the north, new cases have occurred despite strict precautions being taken so it is a blow that they have succumbed.

"But it is important to understand how easy it is for the disease to spread by the movement of animals, people, vehicles or equipment.

"Therefore I urge all farmers, farm workers and contractors to continue maintaining stringent disease control measures to get this disease stamped out once and for all. There is no room for relaxation or complacency.

"We will not rest peacefully until several months have elapsed since the last case. Right now we just do not know when this will be.

"I also want to thank those who have kept away from affected areas and ask them to keep away for a while longer until these areas are completely free of disease.

"I recognise the burden this puts on rural businesses, especially the tourist industry, but all our interests are served by continued vigilance."

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Updated: October 2005.