England eases foot and mouth restrictions as cull continues

LONDON - England on Sunday eased transport restrictions imposed after the latest outbreaks of foot and mouth as the culling continued in an attempt to contain the disease.
calendar icon 16 September 2007
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Farmers across Britain were allowed to take livestock to slaughter Sunday for the first time since the new outbreak was confirmed Wednesday on farm holdings west of London.

It is a relaxation of the strict rules imposed following this week's outbreaks of foot and mouth disease near Egham, just outside the M25 London orbital motorway.

However, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said Saturday pigs were to be culled on a farm close to the affected premises.

The decision to cull was taken as a precautionary measure after a veterinary inspection of the pigs for clinical signs of the disease proved inconclusive, Defra said.

It brings to three the total number of premises subjected to culling following the latest outbreak.

Tests were ongoing to establish whether the disease had spread through animals, environment contamination or vehicle movement.

"Movement of animals to slaughter will be allowed in England under strict biosecurity rules and general licence," Britain's chief vet Debby Reynolds said in a statement.

She said the relaxation -- which only applies to livestock outside the 10-kilometre (6.2-mile) surveillance zone round the affected farms -- followed evaluation of the risk of movement of animals.

Cattle, sheep and pigs can be moved directly from farms to listed abattoirs, or from farms to abattoirs by an approved collection centre or slaughter market.

Source: AFP
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