CUMBRIAN MP Tim Farron has tabled an Early Day Motion in Parliament to mark the 20th anniversary of foot and mouth disease.

The outbreak of the disease on February 19 2001 led to more than six million animals being slaughtered across the country, and tourism businesses losing millions of pounds.

Cumbria was the worst affected area of the country, with 843 cases of the disease.

Mr Farron’s Parliamentary motion pays tribute to the ‘thousands of farmers and their families, agricultural workers, and rural communities who bore the brunt of the tragedy and faced appalling emotional trauma and financial loss’, while also celebrating the ‘resilience and determination of rural communities that enabled them to emerge stronger, providing hope and inspiration to this generation as it tackles the coronavirus.’

He said: “We should never forget the sheer devastation that foot and mouth brought to Cumbria.

“I saw the heartbreak at close quarters; seeing farmers who had worked all their lives having to give up their prized livestock is something that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

“However, in those dark times, you got to see Cumbria at its best, communities supporting one another. It’s that experience of pulling together in hard times that I believe gives us the hope to emerge stronger from the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Mr Farron also ‘expresses gratitude to the veterinarians and military personnel who played vital roles in containing the disease that ‘to keep the lessons learned from the outbreak in the three subsequent independent inquiries under permanent review to ensure that no such animal disease outbreak happens again.’