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Seventh case of FMD confirmed in the UK

British authorities have confirmed a seventh case of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) in the UK last night.

The case was discovered on a cattle farm in a town near Egham in the county of Surrey - it was found in the already installed protection zone due to earlier discoveries.

Ease restrictions
Still, the country's chief veterinary officer Debby Reynolds said animal restrictions are likely to be eased: "Our aim is to get farming back to normal when the risk is acceptable to do so."

Animals can be moved from farm to farm under licence in 'low risk areas', but markets cannot be held.

Movements will continue to be restricted in counties in the South of England, surrounding the Surrey outbreaks, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said.

Relief to farmers
The National Farmers' Union president Peter Kendall said the relaxation of movements would be a relief to farmers and "should at least reduce the danger of this becoming a welfare and economic crisis for many farmers."

He added: "But we must remember that farmers across a large part of south-east England, where there is still a risk of FMD , remain unable to move their livestock, other than direct for slaughter, and still face very severe problems."

FMD was first discovered in the UK in the beginning of August but it seemed to remain restricted to two farms. About 10 days ago, another set of farms, predominantly housing cattle, were found to be infected.

As FMD can affect pigs as well, any animal restriction is likely to influence pig trade as well.

The problems for the UK livestock industry seemed to become bigger as this week also an outbreak of bluetongue - not harmful to pigs - was discovered.

For more information, read the latest weblog by David Burch: 'FMD is back again in the UK - but is that all?'

Related websites:
• National Farmers' Union
• Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)

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