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The BBC's Jon Sopel
"The French government is acting as if it's already in the grip of the disease"
 real 56k

EU health commissioner David Byrne
"The anti-bodies arising from... the vaccination mimic the disease itself"
 real 28k

Monday, 5 March, 2001, 15:35 GMT
France bans animal exports
Burning sheep
Sheep from Britain were suspected of being infected
France has banned the export of all animals at risk from foot-and-mouth disease for 15 days in an attempt to stop the spread of the disease.

Agriculture Minister Jean Glavany also said that movement of cattle, sheep and pigs would be banned, except for journeys to slaughterhouses.

Jean Glavany
Glavany: Imported sheep believed to be infected
And government officials are reported as saying that horse-racing events are likely to be banned.

No cases of the disease have yet been confirmed in France, but officials say foot-and-mouth antibodies were found on nine farms, which were then put in quarantine.

Mr Glavany told French radio that sheep imported from Britain had been suspected of being infected before they were slaughtered.

The suspicions about foot-and-mouth disease could not be confirmed because the animals were slaughtered and burned after the tests were taken

Agriculture Minister Jean Glavany
But he stressed that the disease had not been confirmed, and the French move did not mean there had been an outbreak there.

Over the weekend farms in Belgium, France and Denmark were quarantined after suspected cases of foot-and-mouth were discovered.

But tests for the disease on one farm, in the French south-eastern Loire department, proved negative and the quarantine there has been lifted.

And a pig farm at Diksmuide in Belgium was cleared following negative tests on pigs imported from Britain.

Foot-and-mouth has brought havoc to the British farming industry with about 70 cases confirmed since the outbreak began two weeks ago.

Last week, France announced that it was destroying 50,000 sheep imported from Britain as a precautionary measure.

Danish scare

In Denmark, several farms were placed under quarantine as a precautionary measure on Sunday.

Euro reaction
France: ban on British and Irish products, export ban
Germany: culling British animals
Belgium: started cull
Spain: destroyed British pigs, disinfecting vehicles, seizing and destroying meat products
Portugal: disinfecting British visitors
Cyprus: disinfecting British visitors
Russia: banned all British meat products
The Danish Food Administration also toughened hygiene regulations, temporarily banning all private food imports and limiting visits to cattle farms.

But the UK remains the only country in western Europe to have confirmed cases of the infection.

More than 53,000 animals have been slaughtered and incinerated in the UK, and government vets are trying to trace thousands more they think may have been infected.

The European Union has said there is no need to proceed to a mass vaccination programme.

European measures

Countries around Europe have, however, been implementing more and more emergency measures.

France-Luxembourg border
French border police are keeping tight controls on truck movements
Ireland has deployed troops along the border with Northern Ireland, where one case has been confirmed, in an attempt to prevent the spread of the outbreak.

Germany has ordered the immediate destruction of all sheep and goats imported from the UK in the last four weeks.

Spain has banned all livestock fairs and incinerated hundreds of British pigs.

It has also issued guidelines on cleaning and disinfecting of vehicles and the confiscation and destruction of food and waste from the UK.

Russia has imposed a blanket ban on all meat products from Britain.

The Austrian Government has advised its nationals to avoid travelling to Britain "unless absolutely necessary".

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See also:

01 Mar 01 | Europe
Outbreak threatens Muslim holiday
01 Mar 01 | Europe
Ireland battens down the hatches
01 Mar 01 | Asia-Pacific
Australia's livestock fear
28 Feb 01 | Europe
Germany's green revolution
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