Foot And Mouth Essay Research Paper Foot

Foot And Mouth Essay, Research Paper

Foot and mouth disease (FMD) is a severe, highly communicable viral disease of cattle, sheep, and swine. It also will affect goats, deer, and other cloven-hoofed animals. This disease is characterized by fever and blister-like lesions on the tongue and lips in the mouth, on the udders, and between the claws. Many affected animals usually recover, but the disease leaves them debilitated. It causes severe losses in the production of milk and meat. This disease spreads widely and rapidly and it carries with it grave economic and physical consequences. Because of these reasons, many livestock owners dread this disease.

This disease is caused by a virus. This virus has the ability to remain viable in carcasses, in animal by-products, in water, in such materials as straw and bedding and even in the open pastures. There are seven different types and many subtypes of FMD virus. The animal s can become infected by one or more than one virus types at the same type. Recovered animals can suffer repeated attacks of the disease because immunity to one type does not protect against other types.

FMD is spread by animals, people, and materials that bring the virus into physical contact with susceptible animals. Some of the +causes of an outbreak are:

v People wear contaminated clothes of footwear or use contaminated equipment

v Contaminated animals are introduced to susceptible herds

v Contaminated facilities are used to hold susceptible animals

v Contaminated vehicles are used to transport animals

v Raw or improperly cooked garbage containing infected meat or animals products is fed to animals

v Animals are exposed to areas that may have been contaminated with the virus

v Animals drink contaminated water

v Cow is inseminated by semen from an infected bull

There has been no documented case of human becoming infected with the disease; however, they can carry it on heir clothes and hair, even in their lungs and nostrils, the virus, which kills cloven-hoofed animals such as cattle, deer, pigs, and sheep.

Symptoms of the FMD virus are vesicle or blisters on the mouth or on the feel and resulting slobbering or lameness are the best-known sign or the disease. Often the blisters are not seen until they rupture. Some of the other signs that is significant for this disease that have been noticed during outbreaks:

v Temperature rises and falls in about 48 hours

v Rupture of vesicles discharge either clear or cloudy fluid and leave raw, eroded areas surrounding by ragged fragments of loose tissue

v Sticky, foamy, stringy saliva is produced

v Consumption of feed is reduced because of painful tongue and mouth lesions

v Lameness with reluctance to move is often observed

v Abortions often occur

v Milk flow of infected cow drops abruptly

v Conception rates may be low

Meat animals do not normally regain lost weight for many months. Recovered cows seldom produce milk at their former rates. It can lead to myocarditis and death most often in newborn animals.

Foot and mouth disease are commonly get confused with several similar but less harmful domestic. Some of these are vesicular stomatitis, bluetongue, bovine viral diarrhea, and foot rot in cattle and vesicular exanthema of swine and swine vesicular disease in pigs. Laboratory test are used to determine whether the disease causing them is FMD.

This disease is widespread. FMD is one of the most difficult to contain because it occurs in various parts of the world. Animals and animal by-products from areas known to be infected are prohibited entry into the country. Animals in this country are very susceptibility to FMD because animals in this area had not developed immunity to it.

The last reported outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease was in 1981 in England. The most significant outbreak prior to this one was in 1967 when 400,000 animals were slaughtered and the disease took six months to get under control. It has occurred again after twenty years due to the Type O virus of foot-and-mouth, which surfaced in 60 countries in 1999. South America, South Africa and Asia all had outbreaks and through trade with these countries, the infected meat has been distributed worldwide. Once the disease is present, it spreads very quickly within 100 miles of the infection other cases can occur (Brown 2).

Slaughter is the best method of controlling the disease. Foot-and-mouth disease can survive in the respiratory tract of infected animals and is easily transmitted to other livestock. If the disease is allowed to remain in the livestock, higher numbers will become increased and heighten the chances of a cycle of re-infection. Animals that are infected are no longer productive farm animals as some may be lame, milk and meat yields falls and conception rates fall as the increase of abortion is observed.

It is difficult to fully determine the effects of the slaughtering as new cases are still being reported. Studies are revealing that the movement of these animals was much broader than expected, therefore infecting more animals that earlier anticipated. These animals were generally moved by the farmers in efforts to conserve their land.

Animals are being killed to prevent the disease from spreading and for economic reasons. The virus is virulent and is very capable of infecting all the animals that have hoofs. Though the number of livestock being killed is very high it is small in contrast to the amount of animals in the world that would eventually become infected. The extinction of these cloven-hoof animals is a very real possibility if the disease was not to be contained. From an economic standpoint, trade revolving around the animals for breeding, wool and meat would cease to exist.

The amount of animals slaughtered has varied from country to country. From February 19 to April 19 approximately 1.2 million animals have been destroyed in Great Britain alone. Many different cases have been reported in other countries as well 1,400 in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Through April 20, 2001 France reported 2 cases, in Holland, 25 cases were reported and in Ireland 3 confirmed cases. The foot-and-mouth disease was confirmed to be present in Holland on March 21, 2001 and in Ireland on March 22, 2001.

Though the slaughter is an effective method to contain the disease as the carcasses are later burned, many people are protesting. Some do not see the point in killing the animals of uninfected farms adjacent to outbreaks. In Gloucestershine, England more than 100 protestors barricaded entry to a farm containing animals that have not yet contracted the disease (Leeman 1-2).

Foot-and-mouth disease has had many effects on the daily lives and activities of the citizens living in the affected countries and those were the disease has not become widespread. The Fairmount Park Commission and the Philadelphia School District cancelled a sheep shearing event the annually occurs in the city. This event normally draws 2,000 to 4,000 people and their $1 admissions helps pay for maintenance for farms in the surrounding area. This year, people can no longer simply show up. Instead they are forced to schedule an appointment and verify that they have not recently traveled to an infected country.

Other events involving livestock are being cancelled as well. In Rochester Minnesota, an annual farm breakfast was cancelled. The public breakfast was cancelled in hopes of protecting the animals in the area from the disease because the event has been known to draw international visitors in addition to those living nearby (AP 1).

In Austin Texas, a newspaper article reports that horse thefts in the southwest portion of the U.S. are on the rise. These stolen horses are sold to a slaughterhouse for processing. Rob Hosford of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association says that it takes less than a week for a horse slaughtered in Texas to show up on a menu in Paris. Some thieves are so efficient that the carcass has left the country by the time the owner has reported the horse stolen (Garcia 1). The price on horse meat has more than doubled as a result of the spread of foot-and-mouth overseas.

Also people who have recently traveled from overseas are unable to go to the zoo until 48 hours after their return. Zoo officials fear that the disease would be given to the animals living within the zoo and the manner it would spread among other livestock. As a preventative measure, these travelers should avoid all contact with animals.

The fear of foot-and-mouth spreading to the United States is still very great. David Huxsoll, director of USDA s lab at Plum Island, N.Y. gives the U.S. customs officials credit in their effectiveness of keeping the disease out of the U.S. thus far. He attributes the success to their diligence and also in part to luck (Naedele 2).

The National Farmer s Union is calling for a tighter control of imported meat as well. They are forcing stricter checks at ports for airports and borders, using dogs to inspect the meat and are posting signs cautioning travelers about the dangers of bring food products back into the country. Within the infected areas increased measures are being performed. Intensified slaughter is occurring in documented hot spots. All sheep, goats and pigs within a 3km radius of known outbreaks are automatically slaughtered. Cows are not included in this 3km radius because they display obvious symptoms, making detection simple. A 21-day sheep movement is employed to limit the criss-crossing of animals across the country. The current policy is under constant review (NFU 4-5).

Some of the animals that are being killed for preventative measures may appear to be healthy. Sheep may contain the disease for months, but appear to be a symptomatic. Pigs have a higher risk of being infected; therefore, they have a higher risk of transmitting the disease. The method of prevention is to predict where the disease will hit next and to slaughter the animals before they infect the whole farm.

British meat is still safe to buy. The British Farm Standard is the logo to look out for when considering buying British meat. The logo is from an independent company who sets their own standards.

Livestock farmers can start rebuilding their farms only after many months of rigorous disinfections. The entire farm and the buildings must be disinfected for months.

Northern Ireland will hold a mass slaughtering after a second case of foot and mouth disease broke out. Pigs, sheep, and cows within a two-mile radius of Cookstown in County Tyrone will be killed. Soldiers went through the countryside slaughtering animals to prevent any further spread of the disease. Unfortunately, new cases of the disease were reported near the border and the seacoast. A complete band on the movement of livestock will be put into effect.

Northern Ireland canceled their annual parade because of the concerns of this disease. Other large gatherings have been canceled because of the fear of spreading this disease to other parts of the country. Slaughtering have already began throughout the country.

American and Japanese tourists have canceled trips to Europe because of the concerns of the numerous outbreaks of this disease. Cancellations due to foot and mouth disease could cause the British travel industry $3.6 billion. Brian Stack, vice chairman of the U.S. Tour Operators Association, said Americans are worried about catching foot and mouth disease, which is only a danger to cloven-hoofed animals. (Pearson 2) About 20 % of the 600,000 Japanese that travel to Europe each year are expected to cancel their plans. Stack also estimates that 100,000 Americans will cancel trips as well.

The government of Great Britain announced that it has lifted the restrictions placed on two countries. Professor David King said that the epidemic was fully under control. On the contrary, veterinarians are still confirming over two-dozen cases reported daily. In Northamptonshire, animals are slaughtered at the infected areas. All the other animals will be inspected on a regularly basis for three weeks. Afterwards, sheep and goats will be given blood tests. If all of the tests are negative for the disease, the restriction will be removed within 30 days of the slaughtering of the infected animals.

In Cumbria the epidemic was declining, but Devon and the Welsh borders were still under high concerns because many people didn t understand the way the disease was spreading. They believe that the key to stopping the spread is to slaughter the infected animals and their neighboring farms. Progress is being made to reopen the attractions across the country. Property owners are reopening their properties to people.

The Institute of Directors said that the epidemic has cost British companies over $30 billion and they expect the losses to double if the epidemic runs through July. Smaller businesses have lost an average of $75,000 and larger ones lost an average of $300,000.

The National Farmers Union has estimated that farmers were losing $360 million a month. (Leeman 2)

On April 26, cattle and a flock of 30 sheep that did not have foot and mouth were slaughtered on a 35-acre farm in Devon, England. The following Monday, when officials came to clean up and disinfect the grounds of the farm, they discovered a baby calf. The baby calf was found under the dead body of its mother. The week old calf, named Phoenix , by the farmers who rescued it, was due to be put down that day. The calf, born on Friday, April 13, was inspected by Ministry vets. They arrived soon after the owners called to inform them that they were going to need a court order before they put her through the torture again.

When word of this reached the public, Phoenix received front-page coverage. The Charolais calf was hailed by the newspapers and farming leaders as a symbol of hope in the nine-week epidemic that has ravaged Britain s farming and rural tourism industries and led to the slaughter of 2.4 million animals. A spokesman from the Agriculture Minister s office said that the calf was allowed to live because the government was about to signal a major easing in slaughter policy for some areas. Although Phoenix was probably saved for electoral reasons, animal lovers, farmers, and her owners believe that she is a ray of light for the farming industry.

In some areas, it was felt, that animals were being sentenced to death on a technicality because a single far-flung field bringing their farm within a specific range of this devastating disease. As of April 26, there were 467,000 healthy animals slaughtered out of the 2.4 million. Culling will not end overnight but more flexibility is being introduced. Now animals on neighboring farms will be slaughtered only if they test positive for the disease.

Parliament announced that they had expected up to 80 new infected sites a day at this stage of the epidemic. However, new cases are only averaging 20 positive tests a day. The government s chief scientist, David King, said that the worst was over and he predicted that the number of cases would halve every two weeks.


AP. Animal Disease Cancels Farm Event. Yahoo news. April 20, 2001.

Brown, Paul. Causes and Effects of a deadly virus. The Guardian. March 5, 2001. PG 2.

Garcia, Guillermo X, Rise in horse thefts linked to bad beef abroad Animals

likely end up on European dinner tables USA Today.

Leeman, Sue. British Foot & Mouth Said Controlled. Associated Press. April 19, 2001.

Naedele, Walter F. Fleecing cancelled over illness fears. The Philadelphia


National Farmers Union. Foot and Mouth Disease, your questions answered.

Pearson, Ryan. UK Fights Tourism Disease Worries. Associated Press. April 17, 2001.

USDA, Foot and Mouth Disease. Veterinary Services, July 1998.

CNN World News, UK to relax foot-and-mouth disease. April 2001.

Elliot, Valeria, Decision on use of vaccine put off for one week. April 2001.,,2-117384,00.html

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