A ban on livestock movements around Britain has now been lifted after last month’s outbreak of foot and mouth disease in Surrey. The strain of the disease was similar to a strain found in a laboratory, however it is still not clear which of the two research laboratories in nearby Pirbright the disease originated from. It is thought the outbreak of the disease was probably caused by a combination of heavy rain, leaking drains and building work taking place at the research facilities. The Health and Safety Executive believe that waste water containing live virus leaked out of drains contaminating the soil, which in turn contaminated wheels of vehicles travelling from Pirbright to nearby farms.
Experts are now satisfied that the disease has been eradicated from Britain. Unfortunately this is no consolation to the farmers affected by the outbreak. At the height of the crisis, lifestock movements were restricted around Britain and hundreds of animals culled, costing farmers millions of pounds. The Farmers Union condemned the laboratory leak and stressed systems must be put in place to ensure that something like this never happens again.