No escaping foot-and-mouth for Dutch

European Union bans livestock exports from Netherlands following confirmation of the country’s first cases of foot-and-mouth disease

The European Union has banned Dutch livestock exports after foot-and-month disease (FMD) was confirmed on 21 March in the Netherlands. In addition to the livestock embargo, the EU has also banned exports of meat, dairy and other animal products from the four provinces around the affected farms.

FMD was confirmed among cows and goats at two farms in the eastern villages of Oene and Olst. A suspected fourth case is under investigation at a slaughterhouse in the south. The Netherlands is the second country in mainland Europe to be infected with the highly contagious disease.

Dutch officials announced that they would start destroying up to 20,000 cattle, sheep, goats and pigs in a region north of Apeldoorn, where livestock was discovered to be suffering from the disease. If they cannot carry out the cull fast enough, Dutch authorities would like to vaccinate susceptible livestock. The Dutch will seek permission from the EU's Standing Veterinary Committee, whom are meeting at a special session on 23 March.

The Dutch Ministry of Agriculture is not clear on the source of the outbreak since no animals have been moved to or from the affected farms this year.

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