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Essex, UK: Foot & Mouth (Livestock)

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    Posted: September 17 2018 at 11:41am
First foot and mouth outbreak in 20 years

The identity of the abattoir at the centre of Britain's first outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease for 20 years was disclosed today.

Cheale Meats, based in Little Warley, south of Brentwood, Essex, confirmed it had been the site for the grim discovery among 27 pigs by a veterinary inspector on Monday.

Director Paul Cheale told PA News that the abattoir was now "co-operating fully" with the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) to establish the source of the outbreak.

He also said Britain's livestock industry had been "shattered" following confirmation that farmers were facing the possibility of a foot-and-mouth epidemic among livestock.

"Everyone in the industry has been left shattered by this," said Mr Cheale.

"We are now trying to source where every animal which arrived here in recent weeks came from.

"That will involve many thousands of animals and many weeks of work."

Mr Cheale said it was still not certain that the source of the outbreak had been from one or both of two farms named by MAFF last night.

As well as imposing a five-mile animal movement exclusion zone around the abattoir, MAFF also ordered no-go areas the same size around farms in Horwood, Buckinghamshire, and Freshwater Bay in the Isle of Wight.

Both farms delivered consignments of live pigs to the abattoir last Friday.

But Mr Cheale added: "It is possible that these farms were the source of the outbreak but we will have to look much further back than that."

A MAFF spokeswoman today confirmed that the airborne disease was already suspected to have spread to a farm next to the abattoir.

She said: "Foot-and-mouth is a highly infectious disease and animals at a farm next to the abattoir have already been affected.

"It is believed that the disease spread from the abattoir but we are not ruling out the possibility that the farm could even be the source of the disease at this stage." Investigations were ongoing, she added.

Farmers were today being warned to check their animals for any signs of foot-and-mouth among livestock.

Typical symptoms among cloven hoof animals affected by the disease, including pigs, sheep, goats and cattle, are lameness and a lack of appetite.

The disease is also characterised by blisters in the mouth causing increased salivation.

Death is not usual but animals cease gaining weight and production in dairy cattle falls.

The last major outbreak in Britain was 20 years ago, while the most recent outbreak in the EU took place in Greece last year.

The Food Standards Agency yesterday advised that the cases had no implications for the human food chain.

Department of Agriculture vets in Northern Ireland were meeting this morning to monitor the outbreak in Essex and discuss measures to prevent the spread of the disease across the Irish Sea.

A spokesman said the meeting was a routine measure against the backdrop of a foot-and-mouth outbreak in the UK.

Agriculture officials in England were investigating the source of the infected pig herd and were providing the latest information to their counterparts across the UK.

Departments of Agriculture vets were also looking at the trade in livestock between Northern Ireland and Essex, he confirmed.

Source:   https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-25186/First-foot-mouth-outbreak-20-years.html
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