THE reduction of the 20-day standstill ruling for livestock to six days has been widely welcomed by the industry.

Robert Forster, chief executive of the National Beef Association, encouraged each producer to comply with the new regulations. "It will help to generate greater trust between the livestock sector and Government," he said.

The enthusiastic adoption of the measures could trigger more positive Government attitudes towards farmers in discussions on CAP review and other key issues, said Mr Forster.

Reg Haydon, national chairman of the Tenant Farmers' Association, said Ministers had made it very clear there would not be a return to no standstill at all.

"The TFA welcomes this hard-won concession from the Government and we will undertake to ensure its effective implementation with Government and industry," he said.

Dorothy Fairburn, CLA regional director for Yorkshire, said animal movement rules should be simple, proportionate to risk and practical, with wide understanding and acceptance by farmers.

"The six-day standstill is a significant step in this direction," she said, "The CLA will continue to work with the rest of the livestock industry and Defra to develop a workable, long-term animal movement regime."

Tim Bennett, NFU deputy president, hoped the package was the start of a new way of working between Government and farmers - "one that produces results without the need to resort to regulation based on the lowest common denominator".

The NFU would continue in talks with Defra as the department launched its next round of consultation to develop a long-term livestock movement regime.

Andrew George, Liberal Democrat Shadow Rural Affairs Minister, said a great deal of hardship could have been avoided if the Government had adopted the on-farm quarantine zone which operated in Scotland and which his party had proposed in November.

All said the Government must now tighten food import controls