This tragedy is the worst thing that could possibly happen to the United Kingdom’s farming industry. As if the BSE crisis was not enough, the deadly virus Varroa has seriously affected the country’s colony of bees, forcing the price of British honey up 50% in a year and now, Foot and Mouth Disease (yashur) sweeps through the country from north to south, contaminating herds of pigs, sheep, deer and cows. Thousands of animals are being burnt in an attempt to control this virus, which does not harm humans but which is highly contagious among animals. Even zoo animals can be affected. Being caused by an extremely infectious virus, this disease is extremely difficult to control. The UK government acted as quickly and rigorously as it could and observers state there was nothing more it could do. Nevertheless, there are fears that the outbreak was detected after British livestock were exported to Continental Europe. Just last week, France imported 50,000 British sheep. The Netherlands has already started a programme of preventive slaughter, killing 3,000 sheep, pigs and cows. In Germany, 1,400 pigs and 700 sheep have been slaughtered in an attempt to limit the potential risk caused by recently-imported livestock from the UK. In the United Kingdom, twelve farms are now affected and it has been decided to slaughter all the herds where cases occurred. The British Agriculture Ministry has already contracted German and US marksmen to shoot livestock, because there are not enough professionals in the UK to perform the task, such is the seriousness of the situation. Thousands of animal carcasses are being piled up on huge pyres for incineration, the only measure known to destroy this virus. To date, 500 cows, 2,000 pigs and 250 sheep have been killed and incinerated, but this is the tip of the iceberg. The Chief Veterinary Officer, Jim Scuddamore, stated “We are facing a very worrying and serious situation”. Experts state that the probable cause of this outbreak is infected meat from Asia, used to feed pigs. From there, the disease spread to sheep and as often happens, the sheep acted as carriers to infect cattle. Pigs are not natural carnivores and once again, unnatural feeding practices reap their logical consequences. Feeding cows with pulverised brains created BSE, feeding pigs on imported meat, instead of the normal swill, which takes a year to fatten a pig, caused this outbreak and before long, we will find that the practice of rearing adult chickens in three weeks causes something else. Maybe genetically modified vegetables would be safer to eat?
JOHN ASHTEAD, PRAVDA.RU, LONDON