Scientists have identified the strain of foot and mouth disease that broke out at a farm in Britain, and say it’s similar to one used in nearby laboratories. The animal health labs at Pirbright are just a few kilometers from the affected farm in Surrey and have been closed as a precaution. The strain is normally found in vaccines and not in animals. Movement of all pigs, sheep and cattle has been banned in the UK, and a three-kilometer protection zone is in place around the farm and labs. Prime Minister Gordon Brown cut short his holiday to attend emergency meetings in London. He said: “I can assure people, in farming communities and in the rural communities in every part of the country, that we are doing everything in our power to look at the scientific evidence and to get to the bottom of what has happened and then to eradicate this disease.” The government was criticised for its handling of the last outbreak in 2001. Then, more than six million animals were slaughtered and it’s thought the crisis cost around 12 billion pounds. Meanwhile, the EU has banned all live animal exports from the UK as well as meat and dairy products from the affected area. Government workers have rounded up and culled scores of infected cows at the farm where the disease was found, and farmers nationwide have been asked to check their herds.
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