Monday, 26 March, 2001, 19:24 GMT 20:24 UK
Mass cull burial site earmarked
A 25-acre site in south-west Scotland has been earmarked for the mass burial of up to 200,000 animal carcasses destroyed because of foot-and-mouth disease.
The Scottish Executive announced that the landfill site at Birkshaw Forest, south of Lockerbie, is intended to speed up the disposal of potentially-infected animals.
The site should be available to receive animal carcasses by Wednesday, according to the Executive.
The news came as the total number of confirmed cases of foot-and-mouth in Dumfries and Galloway rose to 88 on Monday.
Although all cases of the disease in Scotland have been within Dumfries and Galloway, there is concern that the outbreak has spread to the west of the region, which was previously unaffected.
On Saturday, a farm at Castle Douglas was confirmed as having the disease, whereas previous cases had been to the east of the town of Dumfries.
Farming liaison officer Robin Spence said: "There is huge concern that the disease is spreading west.
"We have to be brutal and pre-emptive and take out all the infected stock."
Meanwhile, Scotland Office Minister George Foulkes has praised Borders Council for its handling of the crisis and preventing the disease spreading to the region.
Mr Foulkes was in Hawick and Galashiels on Monday to see how the region was coping.
He said the fact it remains disease free for the time being was proof of the council's competence in the matter.
In recent weeks the council has received criticism from farmers in the Newcastleton area.
They said not enough was being done to decontaminate vehicles entering the region from Dumfries and Galloway and Cumbria.
A member of the ruling administration - Liberal Democrat Norman Pender - broke ranks with council colleagues by saying much tougher measures were required.
But the Scottish Borders Caravan Council has been cancelled because of the foot-and-mouth epidemic.
The council said the number of confirmed bookings had dropped to around 120, from the 500 they expected.
Many people kept their caravans on farm sites and could not gain access to them, and the preferred venue for the festival was no longer available.
Senior councillors are meeting with tourism officials on Monday to discuss the possibility of relaxing some of the countryside movement restrictions to help entice visitors back to the region.