The foot-and-mouth disease epidemic in Dumfries and Galloway in south-west Scotland comprised 177 infected premises (IPs) in 24 geographical clusters, and ran from March 1 until May 23, 2001. Initial seeding of infection was by livestock (predominantly sheep) that had passed through Longtown Market in adjacent Cumbria. Thereafter, spread within existing, and to new, clusters was associated with the movement of personnel and vehicles, with further transmission by Longtown Market contacts and across common boundaries. Sheep and cattle premises were equally affected. After the peak of the epidemic at the beginning of the third week of March, the upper possible limit of attack rates for premises contiguous to IPs, and premises within 3 km, remained around 10 per cent, with new clusters emerging more distantly. Control procedures included traditional methods of slaughter of all animals on IPs and, elsewhere, of animals considered by veterinary assessment to be Dangerous Contacts; movement restrictions; enhanced biosecurity; tracing of potential sources and spread of virus; and surveillance of premises subsequently considered at risk. These methods were supplemented by the novel pre-emptive slaughter, without veterinary assessment, of all susceptible livestock on all premises contiguous to IPs, and of small ruminants and pigs within a 3 km radius (known as the Protection Zone) around IPs. In total, approximately 80,000 cattle, 564,000 sheep, 2600 pigs and 500 goats were slaughtered, the novel methods accounting for 29 per cent of all cattle and 75 per cent of all sheep killed. Limitations of existing national databases necessitated the development of local databases to administer control procedures.