British abattoirs have resumed the slaughter of animals for the first time since an outbreak of foot and mouth disease led to a ban. Other movements of livestock, however, are still banned. It comes despite concerns over a possible third case of the disease. A new three kilometre protection zone has been placed around a farm near Dorking in Surrey.
If confirmed, the outbreak would be the first outside the existing ten kilometre surveillance zone around a farm in Guildford, where the disease was first confirmed last week.
Government inspectors say there is a strong probability the virus came from a nearby laboratory complex. Legionella bacteria have also been detected at the site, but Dr John Andersen of the Institute for Animal Health played down the news: “This is classed as insignificant. The approved HSE code of practise for control of legionella in water and by the Institute for Animal Health’s own HSE-approved water safety management regime”.
A devastating outbreak of foot and mouth laid waste to the UK in 2001 and led to more than six million animals being culled. The rural community was left reeling with the total cost to the economy eventually running to 11 billion euros.