British authorities have temporarily banned most livestock transports, including pigs, after two cases of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) were reported in cattle in the southern county of Surrey.
The UK Department of Forestry and Rural Affairs (Defra) went red alert last
Friday when a total of 39 animals were tested positive at a farm in the village
of Normandy, near Guildford. This morning a second farm was confirmed
contaminated in that same region.As a consequence, 120 animals had to be culled
UK authorities immediately banned
all transports of even-toed ungulates as from last Saturday.
In addition, the European Union prohibited export of
all livestock and milk products from all of the UK, except for Northern Ireland.
Only products manufactured prior to July 15th, can be
As the disease also affects pigs,
sheep and goats, increased measures apply to a large number of facilites in the
livestock industry. So far, British authorities, including EU welfare
commissioner Markos Kyprianou
ec.europa.eu/commission_barroso/kyprianou/index_en.htm, claim the outbreak is an
incident, and not a massive outbreak like in 2001, when many animals in the UK
had to be culled.
the outbreak could be due to a specific, not-finished and ‘slow’ strain which is
under development in two FMD laboratories in nearby Pirbright. At the
laboratories, Merial Animal Health is developing a new vaccin against FMD. It is
unclear how the virus got to the farms – it is suggested that this could be due
to the massive floods of the last couple of weeks or possibly to a human
The outbreak has reintroduced the
discussion on whether animals in the EU should be vaccinated against the
disease.More information on how the disease could spread is expected in the
course of the day.