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1967: Moves to curb spread of foot-and-mouth
A ban on the movement of farm animals has been imposed across the whole of England and Wales in an attempt to curb the spread of the foot-and-mouth epidemic.

From midnight, animals cannot be transported around the country without a special licence. Livestock markets also have to obtain licences.

The restriction follows the confirmation of another 55 new cases, the largest increase in a single day since the outbreak began three weeks ago. The total now stands at 495.

The number of animals slaughtered in the latest epidemic rose to 93,000 yesterday, the highest total since 1923.

Last night the international RAC rally was called off at an estimated cost of 250,000. It is feared drivers - and spectators - may have unintentionally spread the disease.

Virus spreading

The decision to cancel the rally was announced to drivers completing the preparation of their cars near London airport. The five day, 2,500 mile event was due to start from outside the airport at 1100 this morning.

Yesterday's outbreaks of foot-and-mouth were in the districts of Chester, Oswestry, Market Dayton, Shrewsbury, Llangollen, Crewe, Macclesfield, Northwich and Cheltenham.

Foot-and-mouth is a highly infectious viral disease that can affect cattle, pigs, sheep and goats. Symptoms include blisters in the mouth causing increased salivation and lameness.

Animals do not actually die from the disease but stop gaining weight and dairy cattle produce less milk.

The movement ban became necessary after two outbreaks of the disease were diagnosed in Gloucestershire - 20 miles south-east of a case confirmed near Worcester three days ago, indicating the virus was spreading further south-east.

Trail of trouble

The current dry, frosty weather has brought no relief. The virus appears to thrive in dry, cold, dark conditions. Warmth and direct sunlight destroys the organism.

It is still not clear where the virus came from. It may have been carried in the air across the Channel or it may have been transmitted from infected swill or imported meat.

Regional veterinary officer for Yorkshire and Lancashire Tom Stobo, who's been put in charge of the emergency measures, warned that milk lorry drivers could be leaving a "trail of trouble" by handling infected churns and passing the virus on to empty churns.

The Milk Marketing Board has asked all lorry and tanker drivers to disinfect themselves between calls at farms.

Mr Stobo said: "I am pretty satisfied that we are containing the virus within the prescribed areas. "

The Ministry of Agriculture has denied the epidemic poses any threat to the country's meat supplies.

A spokesman said the number being slaughtered was only a small proportion of the numbers killed each week for food.

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Cattle behind locked gates with infected area notice on gate
Doomed cattle at a cancelled auction



In Context
The 1967 outbreak began on 25 October after a vet confimed a sow on the Bryn Farm in Oswestry in Shropshire had the disease.

In total there were 2,228 confirmed cases of foot and mouth - the vast majority of which were concentrated in the North-West Midlands and North Wales, where livestock farming was most intense.

When the epidemic was at its peak, there were at least 80 new cases being diagnosed every day.

The epidemic lasted 32 weeks. A total of 434,000 animals were slaughtered

The outbreak is thought to have been transmitted from infected meat legally imported into the country from Argentina and legally introduced into the animal food chain.

After the 1967-8 foot and mouth epidemic, the Northumberland Report made a series of recommendations on tightening import controls and animal hygiene regulations.

There was not another major epidemic of foot and mouth until February 2001. It devastated livestock and the tourist industry.

The total number of confirmed cases reached over 2,000 but never exceeded more than about 50 new cases per day. Some four million animals were slaughtered.

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