Vaccination will be used in any future foot-and-mouth outbreak, the Government revealed last night.

Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett said infected animals would still be slaughtered under the Government's emergency planning guidelines, but that "emergency vaccination" would form part of the control strategy from the start under a "vaccination-to-live" programme.

She told MPs she accepted virtually all the recommendations made by the inquiries into the outbreak, conducted by Sir Brian Follett and Dr Iain Anderson.

She also announced a ban on personal imports of meat which would be enforced by Customs and Excise with the help of "detector dogs".

Dedicated contingency planning teams would also be established to back up emergency planning procedures.

But Mrs Beckett said farmers had to bear some responsibility for minimising disease risks, and said that the controversial 20-day movement ban would remain in place until a detailed risk assessment was carried out.

Farmers in the North-East and North Yorkshire said plans for vaccination had come too late.

Swaledale farmer Alastair Davy, a spokesman for the Hill Farming Initiative, said: "I think people who lost large sums of money through no fault of their own will not be happy at this. It's too late to help them now."

North Yorkshire pig farmer John Rider, former chairman of the North Riding and Durham County branch of the National Farmers Union, said too many questions remained unanswered, including whether the supermarkets would agree to take vaccinated animals.

David Curry, Conservative MP for Skipton and Ripon, said he was sceptical about the practicalities of a vaccination programme.

North Durham MP Kevan Jones welcomed the findings, adding: "It is clear that the main fight is to stop the diseased meat coming into this country, and therefore I welcome the proposed tough customs controls."

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