A CUMBRIAN farmer whose lambs became a symbol of hope for the county has called on the Government to scrap its Animal Health Bill.
Moira Linaker, who hit national headlines when her Suffolk cross-breed Penny gave birth to twins last month, said the law would make it easier to repeat the "needless and senseless" slaughter seen during the foot and mouth outbreak.
She branded it an "animal death bill" and said the law would be opposed by farmers throughout Cumbria.
"Three weeks into disease-free status and for the few fortunate enough to have stock, it should be a time for celebration," she said.
"Unfortunately, it is not because of the Animal Health Bill.
"In the last year, eight million farm animals were killed as part of a strategy to prevent the spread of foot and mouth.
"Yet all evidence that has come to light shows only a fraction of those were actually infected or incubating the disease.
"Many were needlessly and senselessly slaughtered and much of the human and animal misery caused by foot and mouth could and should have been avoided."
Mrs Linaker said the legislation would extend the range of animals that could be culled in an emergency and allow Government officials onto private property to seize records and kill stock.
She is now set to take an anti-AHB petition to Cumbria County Council in an attempt to get high-level backing.
The bill, introduced to the commons at the end of October, will:
Mrs Linaker, 60, won backing from Conservatives on Carlisle City Council at a meeting this week.
Ray Knapton (Con, Irthing) said delays in culling during the outbreak had not been caused by problems with the law but by "incompetence".
But Labour group leader Heather Bradley said the bill would simply allow the Government to act more quickly in the event of future outbreaks.