Europe fears outbreak of foot-and-mouth

Member states take unilateral steps in an attempt to reduce risk of foot-and-mouth spreading across the Channel

Officials in Germany have discovered foot-and-mouth antibodies in the blood of five sheep, indicating that German animals may have come in contact with infected livestock. There is a high risk of an outbreak in Germany because it had already imported 3530 sheep from Britain since 20 February. Germany has begun to slaughter animals as well as order tests on animals recently imported from the UK.

Several other EU states have taken unilateral steps in an attempt to reduce the risk of foot-and-mouth spreading from Britain. The Netherlands has already slaughtered 4300 animals with UK links and ordered all livestock markets closed for a week. Belgium has asked that all vehicles used to transport animals be disinfected.

The French have already traced over 47,000 animals imported from the UK for tests and are planning to slaughter 20000 sheep. Other EU states have only ordered the closure of their livestock markets for a week.

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