DEFRA has issued guidance notes to help horse owners during the foot-and-mouth (FMD) outbreak.

The notes have been drawn up in response to criticism that no advice has been offered on movement, hacking and other legal requirements concerning horses (see this week’s issue of H&H, Thursday 16 August).

The guidance was released this afternoon, 15 August, at the same time that DEFRA announced its FMD vaccinations teams were “standing down from their current level of alert”.

Preliminary tests taken from a farm in Kent and a sheep at Chessington World of Adventures have proved negative for FMD. Temporary control zones of 3km were set up around both premises yesterday.

DEFRA chief veterinary office Debby Reynolds is now positive about the chance of containing the infection.

She said: “We are grateful to the [farming] industry for its tremendous help to date in support of efforts to control this outbreak.

“Vigilance and compliance with the new and existing rules are of critical importance. Failure by anyone to do this puts at risk both the timetable and therefore our ability to return to normality.”

To view guidance notes for horses during foot-and-mouth, click here