British beef exports halted
Britain banned the export of livestock and livestock products Saturday after foot-and-mouth disease was discovered on an English farm, and authorities halted the movement of cloven-hooved animals nationwide in a bid to control the highly infectious virus that devastated the farming industry six years ago.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown said officials vowed to work night and day to halt the spread of a disease that led to the slaughter of 7 million livestock and badly damaged the agriculture industry and rural tourism in 2001. The government of the time was heavily criticized for being slow to act, giving the disease a chance to spread.
“Our first priority has been to act quickly and decisively,” said Brown, who returned to London from a summer holiday to deal with the outbreak. He chaired a meeting of the government’s crisis committee, COBRA, on Saturday.
“I can assure people … we are doing everything in our power to look at the scientific evidence and to get to the bottom of what has happened and then to eradicate this disease.”