The British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has vowed that the UK Government will take all necessary steps to combat the outbreak of foot and mouth disease.
Shortly after UK Agriculture Minister Nick Brown confirmed a 12th case, Mr Blair said he understood the consternation which the appearance of the disease was causing in farming communities.
Mr Blair said the Government would consider compensating farmers for the loss of slaughtered animals and possibly for consequential losses as well.
He said: "It is extremely serious. There is no doubt at all that there will be huge anxiety amongst farmers the length and breadth of the country".
The premier, speaking in Downing Street in an interview for the BBC, said it was impossible to say how long the outbreak and the consequent emergency measures would last.
"Frankly we can't tell at this stage. We have simply got to wait and see how widespread this disease is. Whatever is needed to tackle and eradicate it, those steps we will take."
Mr Blair said he had sought to reassure the National Farmers' Union, whose President Ben Gill he had just met, that the Government was doing everything it could to help the farming community.
Mr Blair said that as soon as the Government realised the seriousness of the situation last Friday, it put a block on all animal movements.
"That now gives us the time to try to make sure that we know the full extent of the spread of the disease.
Once that is in place, then we can take the measures necessary not just to eradicate the disease but also to make sure that we have in place the proper controls that allow us to make sure that it doesn't spread."
Mr Blair was non-committal on whether the Government would seek £200m of agro-money compensation from Brussels.
Mr Blair said: "It means that we have to pay out from the Exchequer as well. About 70% of it actually comes from the British taxpayer ... but we will look at all these things in order to make sure that we do whatever we can, because we understand the seriousness of the plight that farmers face".