Foot-and-mouth hits 11th Dutch farm : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Friday, 30 March, 2001, 14:35 GMT 15:35 UK

Foot-and-mouth hits 11th Dutch farm

Ireland still has only one confirmed case

The Netherlands has confirmed another case of foot-and-mouth disease, bringing the total to 11. The development follows the discovery of three new cases on Thursday, and comes amid a cull of 100,000 animals designed to prevent the spread of the disease.

Foot-and-mouth cases UK - 780 Netherlands - 11 France - two Ireland - one

In Germany, a new alert was sounded after pigs at Goch, near the Dutch border, showed symptoms of the illness. Test results are due on Saturday.

But in Ireland there was good news on Friday when initial test results from sheep in the north-east and south-east of the country came back negative.

The latest Dutch case was discovered in the eastern province of Gelderland, where the disease first struck last week, and has been linked to animals imported via the French department of Mayenne.

The central province of Veluwe is the only other region of the country affected, after a case not linked to Mayenne imports was discovered in Kootwijkerbroek on Thursday.

On Friday angry farmers there briefly held hostage three workers from the country's Meat and Animal Inspection Service, and erected blockades to protest against the preventive slaughter of thousands of healthy livestock.

The Dutch Agriculture Minister, Laurens-Jan Brinkhorst, said he wanted Europe to revisit the idea of mass vaccination of livestock to avoid such a slaughter in future.

Many people do not understand in this country why one should slaughter massively if by simple vaccination one could avoid the outbreak Agriculture Minister Laurens-Jan Brinkhorst He told the BBC: "I believe that increasingly, at least in this country, there is growing resistance that hundreds of thousands of animals which are perfectly healthy for human consumption should be slaughtered...

"Many people do not understand in this country why one should slaughter massively if by simple vaccination one could avoid the outbreak."

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He said the Netherlands would not take unilateral action, but that European agriculture ministers would return to the issue at a meeting in Sweden next week.

An outbreak on the UK scale would devastate Dutch agriculture Until last week, Dutch officials had believed that their early crackdown on the movement of animals, coupled with a vaccination programme, had been enough to protect the country from the spread of foot-and-mouth.

The UK has not yet begun vaccination,with the government continuing to insist that its mass burning of slaughtered animals is the answer.

The UK's total has passed 770 cases and is still rising daily.

The initial results are negative but I have to say that obviously it is very good news and is a weight off our mind Irish Agriculture Minister Joe Walsh The negative test results in Ireland came from sheep on the Cooley Pensinsula in County Louth in the north-east and at a meat plant at Bunclody, County Wexford, in the south-east.

Agriculture Minister Joe Walsh said the news was "a weight off our mind".

Other tests on samples this week from sheep at another Wexford meat plant and on farms around the country have also been negative.

Ireland still has only one outbreak of the disease, which is being linked to Northern Ireland's only case, confirmed in South Armagh on 1 March.

In France, where two cases have been confirmed, an uneasy waiting game is still going on amid hopes that the virus has been stopped in its tracks.

The suspected case in Germany concerns two pigs imported from the Netherlands before 1 February.

-- Martin Thompson (, March 30, 2001

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