For this " Foot-and-Mouth " Scare
From Our Agricultural Correspondent The Ministry of Agriculture were linable to state with any confidence how serious this outbreak of " Foot and Mouth" disease is likely to prove, but provided some interesting facts relating to this present outbreak compared to the serious outbreak of 1923, when a "Standstill " Order was in operation all over England.
" Stand Still "
A "Standstill Order " means that no cattle may be moved at all except in local districts and then only by special permit. This, of course, paralyses the distribution of meat and milk and necessitates increased imports. All markets, sales and exhibitions are prohibited (except fat-stock sales which may be held by special licence and subject to veterinary examination) in the area.
The present outbreak, however, will not need such drastic measures, " standstill" only being in operation in the infected and "contact " areas which within a radius of fifteen miles, will be closed for three weeks after the latest outbreak.
The system is that infected animals are slaughtered and taunt while others likely to be infected are kept under close observation.
Farmers are paid the full market value of the slaughtered beasts in compensation.
This outbreak is considered to be serious but fairly small. Scarcely ever have twelve months passed without " Foot and Mouth" occurring somewhere, and as long as the disease is kept under observation there is little cause for fear.
In this instance, however, cases have been occurring over large areas, and since still little is known of this disease, there is a certain apprehension among the experts.
Import Danger The danger lies in fresh infection through imported cattle, and while the strict supervision and drastic burnings of diseased animals will keep the disease in check inside the country, imported cattle carrying the disease are continually bringing in more infection.
Criticism has often been levelled at
the Government's harsh treatment of the wholesale burnings of diseased animals on account of the obvious wastage of good meat incurred, but there can be no denying the efficacy of this method when one compares England-s relative immunity to the disease to the tremendous destruction it wreaks on the Continent.
The option to the burning of infected animals is the system favoured in South America and elsewhere—that of isolating the animals until they have overcome the disease or succumbed to it by turning them out on to the prairie or into unused fields.
In England, of course, this is scarcely practicable, as few farmers can afford to
give up the land to isolation cases. Consequently the more efficient method of burning the infected beasts is also for England the more economic.