The Farmers' Union of Wales has slammed the government for action which it says could seriously undermine the important live export market.
DEFRA has decided to halt the use of farms as assembly centres for sheep destined for export. It believes that livestock movements that preceded the arrival of sheep at assembly centres increase the risk of any disease being spread.
FUW president Bob Parry said: "The action taken by DEFRA will seriously harm Welsh sheep producers. Exporting live animals is a highly regulated, legal trade.
"But the latest dictat from DEFRA has left many farmers openly questioning whether the government is attempting to ban it through the back door."