UK: FMD pigs to be culled

18-09-2007 | |

According to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pigs on a farm situated close to the two areas infected with foot-and-mouth disease, are to be culled.

The decision was made as a precautionary measure after an inspection of the animals for clinical signs of the disease proved inconclusive.

News of the cull comes as Chief Vetinary Officer Debby Reynolds announced animal movements could resume. The lifting of the restriction applies only to animals outside the surveillance zone which is currently imposed around the infected premises in Surrey.

It left the Government dealing with a predicament over whether to allow limited movement of livestock in unaffected areas of England, following a partial lifting of the transport ban in Scotland and Wales.

The Government is already facing accusations that it lifted last month’s ban too soon, as the foot-and-mouth virus can survive in the open for up to six months.

Prince Charles voiced his support for the farming community and said the new outbreak as “a complete nightmare”. The current outbreak has affected cattle grazing on rented pasture land in Egham, Surrey, which were immediately culled together with the other 350 cattle owned by Robert Lawrence, which had been grazing on several parcels of land over a wide area.

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) ordered the culling of 800 pigs and 40 cattle from the neighbouring Stroude Farm on Thursday as a precautionary. Tests on Friday showed confirmed they had the disease.

Veterinary epidemiologist at Reading University, Tony Wilsmoresaid said foot-and-mouth at the second farm made further culls a distinct possibility.

“The one positive bit of news is that the animals had not shown any symptoms before they were culled, meaning it is less likely they will have passed on the disease,” he added.