Foot-and-Mouth Brings Livestock Industry to Halt

Article excerpt

FOOT-AND-MOUTH last night brought Britain's livestock industry to a standstill as a seven-day ban was slapped on the transportation of animals vulnerable to the disease.

The ban on moving cattle, pigs, sheep and goats was announced as growing evidence emerged that the potent virus was spreading through the British countryside.

Animals at three more farms were yesterday confirmed as suffering from the disease, taking the total number of farming businesses known to be affected by foot-and-mouth to six.

Locations now conclusively shown to be affected include two farms in Northumberland and an abattoir and three farms in Essex, the county where the disease was first discovered in 27 pigs six days ago at the Cheale Meats slaughter house in Little Warley.

Since then, hundreds of animals have been killed in a desperate attempt to contain the outbreak.

Chief veterinary officer Jim Scudamore said the likely source of the outbreak was now believed to be a farm at Heddon-on-the-Wall, Northumberland, which regularly delivers live pigs to the Essex slaughter house.

The disease also appeared to have spread from there to cattle at a farm four miles away, at Ponteland.

The Government, meanwhile, revealed that the first pigs to be infected may have been suffering from foot-and-mouth for more than two weeks before the disease was discovered.

It was also believed that the disease may have entered Britain as long as a month ago as questions were asked as to why it had taken so long to detect the virus.

More than 600 farms known to have supplied Cheale Meats with live animals were under observation last night.

The alert even spread to the suburbs of London as the full extent of the 10-mile exclusion zone around the Essex abattoir where the disease was first detected became clear. …