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Thursday, 4 October, 2001, 05:14 GMT 06:14 UK
Illegal meat 'poses terror threat'
Meat carcasses BBC
There are concerns over import controls on foreign meat
Vets are warning that terrorists could smuggle biological or chemical weapons into Britain in illegally imported food.

The president of the British Veterinary Association (BVA), David Tyson, has made the claim ahead of his address to the organisation's annual conference in Winchester on Thursday.

He says an urgent review of current import controls is needed to prevent terrorists using imported food to attack Britain.

Mr Tyson says that if terrorists took advantage of what he considers weak import controls, then a human catastrophe could occur.

Foot-and-mouth

The Association of Port Health Authorities, which represents all major air and sea ports, has also warned the government in the past of serious deficiencies in procedures for preventing illegal meat entering the UK.

It is thought that foot-and-mouth disease may have entered the country in supplies of illegally imported meat.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said steps had been taken to control illegal imports and contingency plans were continually being updated.

Mr Tyson is speaking to the BVA's annual congress in Winchester, Hants, where most of his address is due to focus on foot-and-mouth.

He is expected to call for a national veterinary service to be set up in response to his dissatisfaction with the way government agencies have dealt with the outbreak.


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See also:

24 Sep 01 | Sci/Tech
Q&A: The threat from bio-terrorism
25 Sep 01 | UK
Is the UK prepared?
25 Jul 01 | Americas
Analysis: US going against the flow
26 Jul 01 | Americas
A new national security policy
25 Jul 01 | Americas
Dismay over US germ warfare stance
24 Sep 01 | Americas
US fears grow of biological attack
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