Soldiers from Bicester have been drafted in to help in the
cull of animals with foot and mouth disease. Thirty soldiers
from St David's Barracks, Graven Hill, are already at work
helping with culls. Another 30 are being given specialist
training. But Maj Peter Wise, second-in-command of
23 Pioneer Regiment of the Royal Logistic Corps, said all
the Oxfordshire soldiers taking part were doing so voluntarily.
He said: "Our soldiers are given four days training,
two days of theory and two days of practical training in shooting
or culling the animals. "They are all volunteers and
must be prepared to do this unpleasant work, rather than be
ordered to do it. No-one joins the Army to do the type of
work we have been asked to take on."
Capt Simon Hirst, adjutant of the regiment, said the training
had been held in the Forest of Dean and afterwards the men
culls in the Carlisle and Newcastle areas. The courses were
endorsed by the Humane Slaughtering Association and the Ministry
of Agriculture. Another 30 Pioneers were expected to be trained
shortly, bringing the total to 90.
Maff officials said the situation in Oxfordshire remained
- with two confirmed outbreaks of the disease at grazing land
at Hinksey Heights, Oxford, and Grange Farm, at Little Chesterton,
A Wendlebury farm, where a case has been suspected for several
weeks, is still not confirmed.