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23 Pioneer Regiment

Another story how 23 Pioneer was drafted in to help in the cull of animals with foot and mouth disease.

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  Soldiers sign up to help with cull - by Roseena Parveen

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 courses
had been held in the Forest of Dean and afterwards the men joined the
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 unchanged today
- with two confirmed outbreaks of the disease at grazing land at Hinksey Heights, Oxford, and Grange Farm, at Little Chesterton, near Bicester.
A Wendlebury farm, where a case has been suspected for several weeks, is still not confirmed.

Meanwhile, the Government's decision to delay council elections has been welcomed by Oxfordshire County Council's Labour group leader.Cllr Brian Hodgson said the postponement from May 3 to June 7 showed
that the Government was sensitive to the plight of areas hit by the crisis.


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