Consolidated F&MD Thread - 3/16-3/23 (Livestock - General) : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Since this is a hot topic, there are so many threads going it is difficult to keep up with who said what where. Let's try posting under one general weekly thread to try to consolidate information. Voluntarily, of course.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, March 16, 2001


Consolidate my too please.

-- renee oneill{md.} (, March 16, 2001.

Great idea Ken!! And thanks for everything!!!

Too bad this forum isn't run on regular 'threads.' It sure would be more simple -

-- Sue Diederich (, March 16, 2001.


I didn't mean to imply I would be consolidating threads already existing. Just hoping people with new input would post here rather than starting a new thread.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, March 16, 2001.

On the vaccine issue. This is purely economics. If you vaccinate for this, or CL (abscesses in horses, goats, sheep) than the animal will test positive for this, on blood test. If you have a positive test you can not obtain a health certificate for export. The very same problem with scrapie in sheep right now, our export of sheep is dead because we can not produce a paper that says the sheep come from a scrapie free area. I doubt seriously it will be front page news the day Hoof and mouth gets here, the US will want to keep a lid on this, because we don't want to loose our H&M status. Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (, March 16, 2001.

once again I am confussed!

-- renee oneill{md.} (, March 16, 2001.

When did "hoof and mouth" disease become "foot and mouth" disease? I have never heard of "foot" anything until this outbreak. Never heard of hooved animals being called "footed" animals either. Any ideas?

-- Cindy (, March 17, 2001.

I think they have halted the slaughter of all the healthy animals, thank goodness. Now they are calling it some sort of blunder. Here's the link:

People are taking up guns now, and are not going to let them in to kill all their stock. Some are even living out in the fields with the herds.

-- Cindy in Ky (, March 17, 2001.


My earliest reference book on livestock diseases is dated 1896 and it is referred to as Foot and Mouth Disease there. Some of my referenses also include (AKA Hoof and Mouth Disease).

Likely the first place it would show up in the U.S. will be a place with hogs, caused by feeding undercooked swill which contained F&MD contaminated meat. The U.S., Mexico and Canada did an exercise last November which demonstrated how ill-prepared we are and how quickly it could spread. Scenerio was it started on a south Texas pig farm who had obtained food scraps from a freighter, properly cooked them, but then put the cooked swill back into the original containers without sterilizing them beforehand. Using their scenerio, by tracing animal movements, it spread to both Mexico and Canada within a couple of days.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, March 17, 2001.

Am I understanding this correctly??? If we vaccinate our animals will test positive and therefore we will be insuring that they will be slaughtered if there is an outbreak near us????

-- diane (, March 17, 2001.

Diane: Yep, sort of a Catch 22.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, March 17, 2001.

The USDA has established a F&MD hotline at 800-601-9327, option #2. (Of course, only staffed during normal business hours.) USDA website is Their press office is

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, March 17, 2001.

Ken, I find this chilling, but I bet they change the start to North Carolina...."The U.S., Mexico and Canada did an exercise last November which demonstrated how ill-prepared we are and how quickly it could spread. Scenerio was it started on a south Texas pig farm who had obtained food scraps from a freighter, properly cooked them, but then put the cooked swill back into the original containers without sterilizing them beforehand."

Just like the chemical/biological warfare..."it's not a matter of IF, but WHEN". ugh.

-- Doreen (, March 17, 2001.

Lynn suggested to me tonite that we should consider raising rabbits to offset the higher costs of beef and pork that are already starting.

-- Jay Blair in N. AL (, March 17, 2001.

I didn't read all the post ,maybe this web site is already posted.But I'll leave this here in case Click here:

-- Steve (, March 17, 2001.

I too have been reading all over the web about registered meat rabbits. I think the price of beef in the US will go down as everyone sends their "grade" cattle to market just in case. Get money while they can. I think the markets will be flooded.

-- Cindy in Ky (, March 18, 2001.

After spending the morning doing research, I think I can now somewhat answer some of the questions which have been raised on F&MD.

1. Why is it called Foot and Mouth and not Hoof and Mouth? Haven't the foggiest. Name goes back at least into the late 1800s.

2. Once livestock recover, are they immuned? Yes, but only for a period of a couple of months to up to two years, and only to that particular strain, of which there are seven. While temporarily immuned to one, it can catch another strain.

3. Is any immunity passed on to offspring? Apparently no. Cases have been seen where calves have been born with F&MD or acquire it quickly from infected milk or contact. Piglets are particularly acceptable to F&MD while nursing an infected sow and the death rate for young can be high.

4. Can humans get F&MD? Yes, although cases have been rare, either through direct contact with an infectous animal or through their unpasturized milk.

5. What are the impacts after recovery? Milk production may be severely reduced or terminated, the quality will be far lower, and the animals unthrifty. Their milk would be unsuitable for use for butter as it will not churn. Based on economics alone they would be undesirable and slaughtered. There is a high rate of abortions and F&MD can cause permanent sterilization or infertility.

6. Will the British farmers be allowed to eventually restock? Most likely after a disinfectation period. Then test animals will be allowed to see if they pick up F&MD. If not, then restocking is allowed, but closely monitored.

7. What about vaccinations. They are only used in countries where F&MD is endemic, that it, so widespread it cannot be irradicated. Vaccines are short lived and must be repeated on a regular basis. Vaccines are strain-specific. F&MD vaccines are not allowed in countries which are F&MD-free, since they would lose that status.

8. How do most outbreaks get started? Through direct contact, such as an infected animals introduced to a F&MD-free herd. Through their raw or not completely processed products, include smoked sausages, hides and leather. Through products which have not been completely cooked or pasturized. Through feeding swill made from undercooked garbage, such as plate scrapings which contained F&MD tainted products. Through unpasturized milk by-products, such as some soft cheese and whey (e.g., a creamery or cheese plant gets in a load of milk which is F&MD tainted, it is mixed with other milk and the by- products, such as whey, fed to hogs.) Through some vaccines from F&MD countries.

9. Will this be a boom to American farmers through the sale of stock or feed to Europe. Probably not, due to transportation costs and quarantine periods. It now appears Europe, particularly Britian, will be buying less feeds simply because of the decrease in livestock numbers from both MCD and F&MD kill offs. Europe doesn't import much U.S. beef now due to concerns over the used of growth hormones in feedlots. Cattle prices may go up a bit, such as U.S. sellers of baby back ribs (from large calves) having to find another supplier. Remember the EU is large with reduced trade restrictions between countries. Countries may not import meat from France or Britian, but both can import from them.

10. If U.S. cattlemen become concerned and dump culls on the market will beef prices go down. Ha, ha, ha. Supermarkets have this concept consumers don't like severe price fluctuations. Back when hog producers just about gave away hogs, so they didn't have to feed them, did you see any reduction in pork prices? What you might see are more sales.

11. What procedures were used in the 1920s outbreaks in CA? Almost exactly the same as those being applied in Britian. Quarintine and kill as quickly as possible, including surrounding herds. (By the way, both of the CA outbreaks were caused by feeding garbage from foreign sources.)

12. What if someone resists? An outbreak of F&MD in the U.S. will be treated as a national emergency with the USDA given unusual siezure authority. If Bubba wants to face down an M1A tank with his hunting rifle, then let him try. I suspect I know who is going to win.

13. What is all the fuss about? Animals will recover. Yes, and remain high contageous. Due to the lingering problems mentioned above, this is a severe economic disease, which could even send the U.S. into a deep recession. For example, countries which remain F&MD- free will immediately stop all imports of almost all U.S. agricultural products.

14. Is the slaughter of innocent (non-infected) animals required. For the reasons above, yes. Most farmers either make a minor amount of profit from it, and many actually lose money farming. Cut back on the efficiency of their animals, many will go out of business. Remember Economics 101 - supply versus demand. If demand remains constant and supply goes down, prices rise. People decry the loss of the family farm and the growth of mega-farms. If F&MD were to become widespread in the U.S. it will mostly impact the family farm which doesn't have the deep pockets to ride it out.

15. Are pets and horses immune to F&MD? Apparently only horses. Pets would be resistent and all can be contact carriers.

16. What about F&MD exposure from smoke? The virus is fairly easily killed and should not be in the smoke.

17. Will proper cooking or irradiation kill the virus? Yes. Any meat which has been irradiated should be F&MD-free.

18. Is this a disease of only cloven animals? Predominately. Cattle and pigs seem the most susceptible, followed by sheep and goats. However, wildlife, such as deer, bison and zoo animals, can get it as well. For non-cloven animals it has to pretty well be direct contact or consumption.

19. Can F&MD be in meat and bone meal. From what I can tell, yes, if not properly processed.

20. As a cattle farmer which worries me more MCD or F&MD in the U.S? Absolutely F&MD.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, March 18, 2001.

I would like to interject my two cents-worth, on a more philisophical note. If any of you read (and remembered ! LOL) my previous posting (about Little Deer's revenge) a few months back, you will remember that I stated (and still believe) that a lot of things like this are merely what some would call the inevitable and foreseeable "karmic revolution" - or more simply, what comes around, goes around. I cited, at the time, Mad Cow and the bulls**t going on with the then- current Firestone tire debacle to back up my point that when you try to squeeze every drop of profit out of a system without regard for anything but the bottom line, something will happen (sooner or later) that will sweep through and divest all involved (and possibly any nearby, unfortunately, who are only guilty of turning a blind eye) of any profits so garnered, and possibly more. I firmly believe that this F&M disease is the same. The universe is vast and undeniably variable, but some basic laws never change, and one of the most basic is, quite simply, you reap what you sow. Garbage in, garbage out.

People genetically narrow the range of animals they keep and genetically "tweak" them, through selective breeding and other means, to produce the max both in produce and money, then house them in unsanitary conditions, feed them inappropriate foods (remember what caused MC) or otherwise behave irresponsibly and disrespectfully with regards to "their stock" (not animals or beings which deserve personal attention and a certain quality of life, but rather "their stock", as if they were toasters or lawn chairs, or other stack'em- and-ship'em goods). The end result is "maximized gains" and "minimized outlay". It works (for a while), from a specifically bottom-line point of view, although it rarely works from any other point of view. These "business practices" result in such tragic, but obviously foreseeable, events such as hog lagoon spills and other related problems (could not happen in a low-intensity farming set- up), these diseases that we are plagued with "out-of-nowhere" (said nowhere being completely within sight of anyone who cares to look), polluted streams and wells ("How did that happen?"), polluted air, depleted soil, and so on, ad infinitum, ad nausaum. The chior I preach to knows the call and response, right? So, onward.

Yes, vaccination is a pain, and yes, it is only so-so-effective at best (and eliminates, for the moment, the disease free status which gets you an extra few bucks a head - see earlier comments on "maximized gain" and "minimized outlay"), but anything is better than nothing and tests that show active disease instead of just "pinging" on antibodies could be developed if there was any economic incentive to do so. Which now, "out-of-nowhere", there may now be. If someone hadn't been trying to "maximize gain" and "minimize outlay" by scrimping on pig food, this whole load of contaminated bulls**t wouldn't be facing farmers today. And furthermore, (she said, taking a deep breath for fortitude) if pigs were kept in reasonable (from the pig's point of view) conditions - ie free range, acorn grubbing, chestnut snuffling (they can be re-planted now, y'know), rolling in the dirt, free acess to water, etc - then the farmer wouldn't have had to resort to supplemental feeding to begin with. But, I hear, those pigs wouldn't produce as much, and besides, you could only really have so many, kept like that, and at current prices it wouldn't be feasible, cosidering the cost of outsourced slaughtering, shipping all over the world and the fuel and refridgeration that that entails.

Yep. I agree. But a locally produced meat, prepared locally and sold locally - free-ranged so that you know its not only healthy, but damn good, better than what Dixie Lion Safe Mart is selling in those anemic little landfilling styro-trays - will sell for a generous although not mind-boggling profit. Especially when you consider that it will not have to be shipped, and thus expensively produced, all over the place. Will it make you billions? No. Are you making billions now? Not for yourselves, anyway, although I hear that Tyson McBurgerBell is making those billions, off of the profit they make from the keeping farmers invested in the status quo.

You say you want a revolution, well you know, we all want to feed the world. But it makes better sense, from all standpoints, whether economical, karmic, environmental, and even (one might say especially) personal dignity (yours and the cows), to do things the right way, not the most "efficient" way. Farming for the world is too expensive and too frought with pitfalls and regulations to ever be financially successful, unless you can convince a certain portion of the farming population to sell themselves into indentured servitude to you (as a big, helpful, mutli-national corporation), then rob them blind and make them commit to irresponsible practices to glean enough pennies from the deal to feed their families with (the ultimate irony of those who raise our "produce" for us). All the while, you everything in your considerable power to eliminate any untoward "out of the box" thinking and/or behaviour. After all, where would Big Meat be if the little guy quit growing hordes of expensivly raised, badly treated "stock" for international distribution and instead turned to growing fewer, happier animals for their own use and to sell locally, at the sort of premium price that quality, free range, happily-lived and humanely-animals sell for? Why, it might just prove the end of things like fast food, cheap (in all aspects) cuts of crap-in-a-wrap that they pass off as meat these days, and the beginning of things like local and regional specialties and the such, which bring in a modest, yes, but reasonable income for the grower/producer/handler. Armaggedon!

Who says that? I say that - Soni Pitts - who hasn't seen the inside of a box since I was dropped here by my alien parent-pod many years ago!

-- Soni (, March 18, 2001.

Foot-and-mouth may halt UK agriculture for year

By Kate Kelland

LONDON, March 18 (Reuters) - British farmers' leaders warned on Sunday that agriculture could be at a standstill until the end of the year as vets admitted they were still a long way from defeating the foot-and-mouth epidemic devastating the industry.

As the number of foot-and-mouth cases across Britain rose to 303, Ben Gill, president of the National Farmers' Union, said farming and exports would feel the pain inflicted by the crisis for many months to come.

"The downstream consequences of this disease will mean that there will be movement restrictions on livestock, certainly on the sheep, for the foreseeable future -- certainly for the rest of this year," Gill told BBC television.

"I would be pleasantly surprised if we were exporting sheep meat before the end of this year."

Jim Scudamore, Britain's chief veterinary officer, said that while the virulent livestock disease was "contained," he could not predict when the crisis would end. "I think is going to take a long time," he told BBC television.

Agriculture Minister Nick Brown said the government was doing all it could to stamp out the disease, which threatens to destroy the livelihoods of hundreds of farmers and is costing billions of pounds. But asked how long that might take, he replied: "I cannot say."

Economists warned that the effect of the epidemic on farming industries, sports events and tourism could cost Britain's economy as much as nine billion pounds ($13 billion) -- equivalent to 1.1 percent of annual gross domestic product.


The outbreak in Britain is a devastating blow to the farming community which is only just recovering from mad cow disease. Tourism is also losing tens of millions of pounds a week from restrictions on people's movement through the countryside.

Sporting events including horse racing and rugby union have been called off, countries around the world have banned imports of meat from Britain and other European countries, and British travellers are being disinfected on arrival abroad.

But the European Union's Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler was upbeat about preventing the disease spreading across Europe.

France found one outbreak of foot-and-mouth in a cattle herd last week, but has found no signs yet of the disease spreading.

"Assuming there are no big outbreaks of foot-and-mouth in other member states, it's certainly possible that we'll have this problem fully under control in a few months," Fischler told Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung newspaper.

Britain's Brown, facing a wave of protest about plans to slaughter millions of possibly healthy animals in areas worst hit by the disease, appealed to farmers to understand the mass cull was vital to stop the spread of disease.

"The idea of taking out the animals that are potentially infected before the disease emerges is designed to get this to a conclusion as swiftly as possible," Brown told Sky television.

More than 170,000 sheep, cows and pigs have been slaughtered since the outbreak began almost a month ago.

Farmers' groups in Cumbria, in the northwest of England and on the border with Scotland, attacked the government's "slaughter on suspicion" policy, saying there was no need for healthy animals to be killed.

Some farmers threatened to barricade themselves onto their land and stand before the slaughterman's gun to stop their stock being killed.

Brown said the mass cull of healthy but high risk animals would be delayed until he and his fellow ministers had visited Cumbria and explained the policy to farmers. But he insisted the slaughter would go ahead despite the protests.

The British Army -- which has been on standby to step in to the crisis -- could be brought in to coordinate the mass cull and help with the logistics of destroying the thousands of carcasses, Brown said.

Foot-and-mouth is not a threat to humans but causes blisters in the mouth and on the hooves of cloven-footed animals. It can be spread like wildfire by movements of vehicles and people in agricultural regions.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, March 19, 2001.

Cull continues in England

Killing a million healthy animals in areas with foot and mouth disease is the only way to fight the UK outbreak.

The slaughter of up to one million healthy British animals in areas with foot and mouth disease is the only way to fight the UK outbreak, according to a leading veterinary scientist.

"There are bound to be ongoing successive outbreaks as new susceptible animals become exposed to the virus," says Chris Bostock, director of the Institute of Animal Health in Berkshire. "The only way to get on top of it is to cull both the infected and the susceptible animals."

The UK government has announced plans to cull all sheep and pigs within three kilometres of infected farms in two of the worst hit areas, Cumbria and south-west Scotland. "The disease has moved very quickly, which is why we are adopting this approach," agriculture minister Nick Brown told the BBC.

On Friday, the number of confirmed cases of foot and mouth in the UK rose to 256. About 162,000 pigs, cattle and sheep which were suspected of having been exposed to infected animals have already been slaughtered in Britain.

Dispersal problem

Bostock says that the new cull results from the extensive local sheep trading in Cumbria and south-west Scotland, before the first case was diagnosed in February.

"There have been a number of movements of sheep that have disseminated infected animals quite widely in those localised areas," he told New Scientist. "Sheep are particularly difficult because they have fairly mild clinical signs and recover, but they are still a source of infection for other animals."

Pigs will also be slaughtered because, when infected, these animals shed much higher numbers of viral particles than sheep or cattle. "If pigs get infected, they're a major risk for airborne spread of the virus," says Bostock.

Cattle will be exempt from the cull. Symptoms of foot and mouth in cattle are relatively easy to spot, so checking that a farm holds only healthy cattle will be much simpler.

Vaccination impractical

Bostock says calls for vaccinations of animals, rather than widespread culling, are impractical. It would take a minimum of two weeks before animals began to become immune, he says.

Ben Gill, president of Britain's National Farmers Union, says the new measures are "tough but terrible".

"There will be many tears around the British countryside today," he told The Guardian newspaper. "Our farms should be starting to jump with life with new-born lambs and calves. Instead, many will feel that spring has been cancelled and their farms are simply 'dead'."

About 90 countries have now banned imports of meat or livestock from the European Union. Cases of foot and mouth have also been confirmed in France and across mainland Europe tens of thousands of animals have been slaughtered as a precaution.

More at:

Virus emigrates to Europe (14/03/01)

Europe may ban the feeding of swill to pigs (14/03/01)

New vaccine could one day prevent slaughter (28/02/01)

Europe joins the slaughter (28/02/ 01)

Mass slaughter inevitable in UK (23/02/01)

Correspondence about this story should be directed to

1653 GMT, 16 March 2001

Emma Young New Scientist Online News © Copyright New Scientist, RBI Limited 2001

-- Lynn Goltz (, March 19, 2001.

Ken asked me to post the WEB address of "The New Scientist". It is:

-- Lynn Goltz (, March 19, 2001.

Army To Help Slaughter in Britain

.c The Associated Press

LONDON (AP) - Amid accusations from farmers that livestock slaughtered to contain foot-and-mouth disease have been left to rot in the fields, Britain mobilized troops Tuesday to help dispose of the mounds of carcasses.

More than 100 soldiers, including logistics experts, were being sent to the county of Devon in southwestern England to help clear the backlog of slaughtered animals, the Ministry of Defense said.

A month after the livestock disease was first identified in Britain, almost 350 cases have been confirmed, and the outbreak shows no sign of tapering off.

``I don't think it's going to be over quickly,'' chief veterinarian Jim Scudamore told Channel 4 on Monday. ``It's going to be a long haul.

In an escalation of measures against the disease, the government announced last week that it planned to destroy all sheep and pigs within two miles of any confirmed outbreak in the worst-affected areas of northwestern England and southern Scotland.

The pre-emptive slaughter has been strongly opposed by some farmers, and it is unclear when it will begin. Scudamore said the expanded cull would start ``within weeks'' in Cumbria, England's hardest-hit county, and possibly sooner in Scotland.

Scudamore met farmers Monday in an attempt to allay their fears, and said officials would try to shorten the time between diagnosis of diseased animals and slaughter to 24 hours

In the four weeks since the first case of foot-and-mouth was confirmed near London, nearly 300,000 animals have been killed or marked for destruction, Deputy Chief Veterinarian Martin Atkinson said Monday.

As the spread continues, farmers' and environmental groups have called for a campaign of vaccination against the ailment.

European Union agriculture ministers on Monday rejected calls for a vaccination campaign, insisting the current policy of culls and livestock movement restrictions was the best way of containing the virus.

Vaccination is not always effective against foot-and-mouth, and countries that resort it to lose their disease-free status, crucial for agricultural trade with the outside world.

AP-NY-03-20-01 0254EST

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, March 20, 2001.

March 21, 2001

Dutch Confirm Foot - And - Mouth Cases

---------------------------------------------------------------------- ---------- REUTERS INDEX: TOP STORIES | INTERNATIONAL | BUSINESS | TECHNOLOGY ---------------------------------------------------------------------- ----------


Filed at 6:44 a.m. ET

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The Netherlands confirmed its first cases of foot-and-mouth disease on Wednesday as fears grew that the livestock plague that is devastating British farms is taking hold in continental Europe.

The European Commission at once said it would propose a ban on the export from the Netherlands of livestock susceptible to foot-and- mouth.

The Commission would also ask its chief veterinary officers to ban untreated milk, meat and meat products from the region hit by the outbreak in measures similar to those applied to France, EU officials said.

The new outbreak at a farm in the eastern part of the Netherlands made the country the second on the continent after France to be hit by the highly infectious disease.

All farm animals in the vicinity of the Dutch outbreak at the city of Olst, where four cases were confirmed, and at two other locations where the disease is suspected were due to be destroyed.

British vets on Tuesday reported the largest number of new cases of foot-and-mouth disease for a single day since the crisis began a month ago.

More than 220,000 animals have been slaughtered in Britain and a further 90,000 are due to be killed. The government also wants to kill hundreds of thousands of apparently healthy animals to stem the epidemic.

Prime Minister Tony Blair maintains the outbreak is under control, but a big jump of 46 new cases on Tuesday, taking the total to 395, suggested the virus remained rampant.

Across the Atlantic, the U.S. Department of Agriculture denied any cases had been detected in the United States after a rumor that the infection had been found in Idaho cattle.

U.S. inspections for foot-and-mouth disease have been stepped up since the disease hit British and Argentine herds.

The Dutch government said it had re-introduced a ban on exports and imports of animals susceptible to foot-and-mouth and had forbidden the movement of animals inside the country.

Foot-and-mouth afflicts cloven-hoofed animals such as pigs, sheep and cattle, causing severe weight loss and reduced milk supply. It is not harmful to humans.


French Agriculture Minister Jean Glavany said France felt increasingly close to controlling its outbreak but remained at risk because of its proximity to Britain.

``Every day that passes reassures us, but it is too early to cry victory,'' Glavany told the daily Le Figaro in an interview published on Wednesday.

``But with so many new sites per day over (in Britain), which means on our doorstep, the risk remains great: wind, thousands of tourists or trucks which cross the Channel every day can carry the virus to us.''

European Union veterinary experts extended their ban on British livestock and meat exports until April 4, but agreed to relax curbs on French livestock exports and meat sales next week provided there were no new outbreaks.

In Argentina, authorities said they had found 25 cases of foot-and- mouth and 28 more suspect cases and would probably vaccinate the entire cattle herd against the infectious disease.

Argentina, the world's number five beef exporter, has been banned from sending beef to a growing list of countries after its prized disease-free status was revoked.


Blair saw the first sign of a voter backlash over the crisis, with an opinion poll showing 52 percent of Britons opposed his widely tipped plan to call a May 3 election.

The poll also showed his Labor Party's lead over the opposition Conservatives had fallen from 15 points to nine since the crisis began a month ago.

Until now Blair has enjoyed opinion poll leads of 20 points and more, making a May 3 election highly attractive as he aims to secure a second term with another big parliamentary majority.

The Conservatives and farmers' leaders have branded Blair insensitive for pursuing plans for an election at a time when foot-and-mouth is ravaging Britain's countryside, particularly as his present term does not run out until May next year.

Blair, worried that the epidemic is keeping tourists away, sent in troops on Tuesday to help tackle the virus and launched a global charm offensive to reassure potential visitors.

Around 200 soldiers began work in the south west county of Devon and in Cumbria in the northwest to help cope with the slaughter and disposal of tens of thousands of animals.

Blair's spokesman said troops were helping only with the planning and logistics of the mass cull, not killing animals.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, March 21, 2001.

Yikes!!! This has all the makings of a worldwide nightmare!!! Wake me when it's over???

-- diane (, March 21, 2001.

Foot-and-Mouth Disease Spreads to Ireland

By Kevin Smith Reuters

DUBLIN (March 22) - Ireland became on Thursday the fourth European country to fall victim to foot-and-mouth, suspending animal product exports while the continent braced for yet more outbreaks of the highly infectious disease.

Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern said tests on tissue samples taken from sheep on a farm in north County Louth, near the border with Northern Ireland, had proved positive.

The samples were from animals on a farm situated within a 10-km exclusion zone placed around the holding in County Armagh where Northern Ireland's only outbreak of the disease was confirmed earlier this month.

All the sheep on the farm have been slaughtered.

In continental Europe, the Dutch launched new investigations after announcing on Wednesday that foot-and-mouth, which affects cloven- hoofed animals like cows and sheep, had hit three farms.

The Netherlands, which has the most intensive farming industry in Europe, still has raw memories of a devastating outbreak of swine fever in 1997.

Dutch authorities said they were investigating four "strongly suspected" cases in the southern province of Brabant.

One was a slaughterhouse and the other three were farms, two of which had imported Irish calves via the foot-and-mouth affected French department of Mayenne, a spokeswoman for the Dutch agriculture ministry said.

"The Irish calves got off the truck in Mayenne and so the farms are under strong suspicion," a spokeswoman for the Dutch agriculture ministry told Reuters.


In Britain, a top scientific adviser to the government said the foot- and-mouth epidemic there was out of control and could rage on for many more months.

"I think everybody is in agreement -- the government, the farming community and the independent scientific advice -- that this epidemic is not under control at the current point of time," said Professor Roy Anderson, an epidemiologist called in by the agriculture ministry to monitor the crisis.

Anderson told BBC television the epidemic was likely to continue for months -- possibly until August.

Forty new infected sites were found in Britain on Wednesday, bringing the total to 435 and showing the country was far from controlling the month-long epidemic that has paralysed much of its countryside, from farming to the lucrative tourism industry.

The scale of the disaster was underscored by British figures showing more than 270,000 animals had been slaughtered because they were infected or as a precaution, and a further 130,000 were waiting to be killed.

Nearly 80,000 carcasses are piled up awaiting disposal, and giant pyres burn round the clock in infected areas. The disease causes mouth and foot blisters and severe weight loss in livestock.

The Netherlands plans to vaccinate animals as part of efforts to prevent the disease spreading -- a measure Britain and other countries have rejected on grounds of cost and that it would be only short-term.


The outbreak in the Netherlands stoked fears in neighbouring Germany that foot-and-mouth was now an inevitability there too.

"We are staring like a dog at a snake and hope that we will be spared," said Uwe Bartels, farm minister for the region of Lower Saxony. But he admitted that hope was likely to be dashed.

"After foot-and-mouth was confirmed in the Netherlands, we must expect that it will also come to Lower Saxony“" Bartels told state radio NDR. "I think we cannot keep it away."

Irish Agriculture Minister Joe Walsh said he had ordered the suspension of animal product exports from the Irish republic, and that a ban on the export of live animals would be retained.

The Irish republic's agri-food sector accounts for 27 percent of the country's net earnings from trade.

The Dutch government has slapped an export ban on all meat, meat products and dairy products. It has also placed a three-day ban on feed and milk transportation across the country, extending an earlier six-mile limit.

It plans to cull 18,000 animals within a week to contain the outbreak, and will inoculate those animals that cannot be killed immediately to prevent the disease from spreading.

News of the Dutch outbreak sent pork prices sharply higher on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on Wednesday.

REUTERS Rtr 07:28 03-22-01

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, March 22, 2001.

I saw tonight on one site that there was an outbreak now in Germany. Anyone know if that's true or not?

-- Lenette (, March 23, 2001.

March 23, 2001

Containing Foot-and-Mouth Disease

Foot-and-mouth disease has spread from Britain, where it appeared in mid-February, to several farms in France and now to Ireland and the Netherlands, where it was detected in a few cows and a herd of goats. The total number of cases is not large — about 500 — but the effort to prevent any further spread of this virulently contagious disease has brought the movement of livestock in parts of the European Union to a halt. It has also led to the slaughter of a quarter-million animals and to the almost incomprehensible sight of bloated and burning carcasses in an otherwise pastoral landscape.

Americans naturally wonder whether foot-and- mouth will appear in this country and what has kept it out for nearly 80 years. The Department of Agriculture has announced new restrictions on meat imports from Europe, and some travelers returning from affected areas have found a higher level of biological vigilance at airports, where shoes may be disinfected and trained beagles sniff luggage for illegal food items. The Agriculture Department has also sent a team of veterinary and agricultural experts to Europe. But these enhancements merely reinforce a system of agricultural and epidemiological surveillance that is geographically and historically deep.

Before the mid-19th century, livestock diseases like rinderpest, pleuropneumonia, hog cholera and foot-and-mouth disease were essentially uncontainable because they were not understood. The scale of the chronic damage they did is unimaginable. One by one, as the causes of these diseases have been identified, they have been contained in the United States and, in most cases, eliminated. The science made the difference, but so did close cooperation between animal inspectors, local veterinarians and veterinarians at the state and federal levels.

There were six outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease in the United States in the 20th century, the last in 1929, the worst in 1914. Those outbreaks resulted in the deaths of some 324,000 livestock, most of them killed during the 1914 outbreak, which hit 22 states. The other outbreaks were much smaller, quickly confined and often restricted to the farms on which they first appeared. A number of things have changed since then. A tight quarantine has been imposed on imported animals, which lasts longer than the time it takes for foot-and-mouth symptoms to appear should an animal be infected. The practice of feeding untreated garbage to pigs, a dangerous route of transmission, has been brought to an end, partly by regulation and partly by cheap corn.

When foot-and-mouth appeared near Vera Cruz, Mexico, in 1947, the United States and Mexico began a successful seven-year effort to eradicate the disease by slaughtering animals already infected or at risk and vaccinating others. The U.S.D.A.'s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service still helps maintain areas free of animal diseases — biological demilitarized zones — in Panama and at the Panama-Colombia border. Since 1930 importing certain animals and animal products from countries that have foot-and-mouth disease has been illegal. Those restrictions have been augmented by even tighter rules designed to prevent the spread of mad-cow disease. The United States has imported no live cattle from Britain since 1989. In 2000, it imported only five live pigs from Britain.

Foot-and-mouth disease may eventually be contained in Europe but it will probably not disappear because it is still endemic in much of the world, having surfaced recently in South Africa, Korea, Japan, Turkey and Taiwan. There is no need for great fear in this country but every good reason for increased biological security.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, March 23, 2001.

Has the US been importing uncooked meat from other countries? And which countries. If this is true, anyone anywhere in the US can throw their medium rare T-Bone leftovers to their hogs.

-- Cindy in Ky (, March 23, 2001.

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