Foot and Mouth Crisis: EUROPE'S PLAGUE; Foot-and-Mouth in France.Germany, Italy on Alert

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID LEIGH Foreign Editor

THE prospect of a Europe-wide foot-and-mouth epidemic was raised last night after the farm plague spread to France.

Germany and Italy now fear it is only a matter of time before they are caught up in the crisis.

Outbreaks in Britain rose to 205 as the Government said the peril was of a "different order" than previously thought. The tourist trade was reeling.

Europe's fears of cross-Channel infection came true when foot-and-mouth was confirmed at a farm near the village of La Baroche- Gondouin, north west France.

A herd of 114 cows was slaughtered. It had grazed on land next to a farm which imported 20,000 sheep from Britain in February.

At least 10,000 of the sheep - most of which were sold on to TWENTY different areas of France - have been found to have the virus.

Agriculture Minister Jean Glavany said: "I fear that there are other cases."

In Italy, sheep from France showing possible symptoms were being slaughtered. In Germany, Bernhard Kruesken - meat expert for the county's co-operatives' farming association - said: "It is very bad. With the disease in France, it considerably increases the risk of it reaching us."

France ordered the 20,000 British sheep and 30,000 French sheep in contact with them to be killed. …