United Kingdom: 100,000 animals to be slaughtered as foot and mouth outbreak spins out of control

As the number of foot and mouth cases in the UK reaches 127, there are signs that the virus is running out of control, despite stringent measures by the Agriculture Ministry to contain it. In less than three weeks since the first case appeared on 19th February, this highly infectious virus has spread all over the country, causing the slaughter of 73,000 pigs, sheep and cows to date with a further 27,000 waiting to be destroyed. The European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy was responsible for the directive to suppress a programme of vaccination of all cows, pigs, sheep and goats since January 1992 against this disease. The French Veterinary Union predicted that the current outbreak would appear earlier – it was forecast to appear in 1996/7. There have already been cases reported in Belgium, Germany, France and now Denmark. Tens of thousands of animals are being slaughtered on the European Continent as governments take measures to halt the spread of the disease. It is not possible to regulate nature in grandiose scales. Any attempt to create unnatural mechanisms provoke reactions. BSE (mad cow disease) was the first reaction to the action of feeding herbivores with protein feed. The unnatural conditions in which animals are kept nowadays gives rise to a continuous incidence of disease. It would seem that if agricultural policy were based on local or regional directives, with as much de-regulation as possible from centralising authorities, agriculture would have the chance to flourish, since the ideal conditions could be found for animals to mature in the best conditions available in the area where they are kept.


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