Foot and mouth spreads in UK

By Ahmed ElAmin

- Last updated on GMT

Foot-and-mouth disease has spread to two more farms in the UK,
underlying fears that a EU-wide ban on the country's exports will
be prolonged.

The new outbreak is yet another blow against the UK meat producers and processers, who were just starting to recover their markets after the end of ten year export ban on British beef due to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). The ban also takes an important source of supplies off the European market at a time when the price of meat is rising to account for the increased cost of feed. Now producers and processors in the UK are gearing up for a severe reduction in production, and face fresh problems with sourcing as bans on livestock movements take effect around the country. A movement ban of cattle, sheep, pigs and other ruminants has been imposed by regulators across the country. The situation is so critical, that the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers cancelled an annual meeting this week, stating that the arrival of 10,000 of its members in one place would not be "irresponsible". a wise move. The meat industry estimates a previous ban on exports that was lifted on 25 August cost industry about €2.7 million per day. That ban was implemented after a smaller outbreak of food and mouth occurred in an area about 50 kilometres south of the new case. Yesterday government regulators confirmed that initial blood tests on clinically healthy sheep on a farm near the current outbreak suggest these have been exposed to foot and mouth. All animals on the premises are being slaughtered. On 15 September regulators decided to slaughter pigs on a farm in close proximity to the two infected farms in Surrey as a precautionary measure, following inconclusive veterinary inspections of clinical signs. On 12 September, the UK's chief veterinary officer, Debby Reynolds, confirmed the presence of foot and mouth disease on holding in Surrey. On 14 September a second adjacent farm was found to have infected livestock.

Related topics: Regulation & Safety

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