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1981: New measures to contain farm disease

The government has banned all animal transport on the Isle of Wight and in southern Hampshire in an attempt to contain a new outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.

The move follows Sunday's slaughter of 400 infected animals on the Isle of Wight and last week's discovery, the first in Britain for 13 years, of infected animals on Jersey.

The outbreak on the Isle of Wight was declared at Hamstead farm near Yarmouth on Saturday.

Some cattle, now thought to be infected, were sent to Shaftesbury market on the mainland before the disease was found and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) is now tracing them.

"We have been very unlucky"

MAFF's Chief Veterinary Officer Howard Rees

"We know exactly where they all are. Most were local purchases. There are some in the Midlands. If those 16 animals were infected there would be danger for all other animals at that market," said MAFF's David Kyle.

The outbreak is believed to be a result of the disease being carried a record 150 miles by wind from France.

"We have been very unlucky. The wind is something we cannot control. It is one of the possible causes we may have to consider, also birds maybe. You can virtually exclude the movement of contaminated meat," said MAFF's Chief Veterinary Officer Howard Rees.

The ban on movement is expected to last for three weeks, to cover the time the disease can be incubated for.

All hunts and races in the area have also been cancelled.

The President of the National Farmers Union, Richard Butler, said: "Every safeguard must be taken against the possibility of this terrible disease spreading."

The last major outbreak of foot-and-mouth was in 1967. The government paid out 27 million in compensation for the 400,000 animals that were destroyed.

In Context
The ban on animal movements to prevent the spread of foot-and-mouth was lifted a month later.

The move was successful as no new cases were reported outside the sealed off areas in the Isle of Wight and Hampshire.

In 2001 the UK was struck by foot-and-mouth again.

There were over 2,000 cases reported and an estimated four million animals were slaughtered across the UK.

In 2002 the Anderson report was published. It looked at the government's handling of the foot-and-mouth outbreak.

One of the recommendations was for animals to be vaccinated against the disease - something farmers have wanted for years.

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