The EU has reimposed a ban on British meat and livestock exports, after news of a fresh case of foot-and-mouth disease. A 10-kilometre protection zone has been set up around the farm in Surrey, which is about 50 kilometres from an outbreak last month. Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the government had acted swiftly, and the situation was under control. “We have agreed an intense and immediate testing of animals and that is already taking place. That is why we have also agreed an immediate and extensive zone of protection,” he told reporters.
The renewed national ban on livestock movement couldn’t have come at a worst time. Many animals will soon be moving to lowland pastures for the winter.
Kevin Pierce from the National Farmers Union said: “Farmers are still very angry indeed that the most likely cause of this outbreak of foot-and-mouth was the government itself, and its negligence with some drains at Pirbright.”
This fresh case came less than 24 hours after the EU had agreed to declare the UK free of the disease and lift its export ban.
EU Agriculture Commissioner Michael Mann said: “I have heard people suggesting that there must be some sort of lapse in the controls in Great Britain. There is no evidence of that at all. We are assured that measures were taken by the British to bring the disease under control according to the rules.”
The UK’s farmers are still reeling after a nationwide outbreak of the disease in 2001. Then, seven million sheep and cattle were slaughtered.