As the devastating news broke this week of a new case of foot and mouth disease, meat industry leaders were planning to demand compensation in the wake of last month's outbreak.
On Wednesday chief veterinary officer Debby Reynolds confirmed the latest outbreak, near Milton Park Farm, Egham, Surrey, prompting fresh export and national movement bans - just a week after Britain was declared free of the disease.
The latest case, which preliminary tests showed was caused by the same strain of the FMD virus, comes as a massive blow to an industry still reeling from last month's outbreak and ban.
Farmers and abattoirs said they had already lost tens of millions of pounds due to trade and movement restrictions in August.
Since then only a handful of livestock farmers have received direct compensation from Defra, while the processing sector has had nothing. Calls for compensation were now expected to intensify. "We'll be looking at the official FMD reports for opportunities to claim compensation for losses to the meat industry," said Stuart Roberts, director general of the British Meat Processors' Association.
The NFU branded the circumstances leading up to the outbreaks as indefensible and said it was consulting lawyers about claiming damages.
The HSE investigation into the initial outbreak concluded that faulty pipes at the Defra-regulated Pirbright laboratories were the likely source.
Following the outbreak at a farm in Normandy, near Guildford in Surrey, the government tightened biosecurity at Pirbright and launched measures to ensure there is no repeat at other research sites.
The Egham case was this week being linked to the Pirbright facility, but as The Grocer went to press a temporary control zone had also been put around a farm in Norfolk, sparking fears that the disease was wider spread than thought.
The national movement bans have hit farmers just as trade was beginning to return to normal.