Section 2 nightmare of the British – Introduction to foot-and-mouth disease crisis

Britain is located in the west of Europe. It is close to the Atlantic Ocean in the south, North and West, and the North Sea in the northeast. The vast ocean brings rich water vapor, which makes the climate warm and humid all year round, and the annual precipitation is between 850 ~ 1100 mm. Such abundant natural conditions are very conducive to the growth of forage. There are more than 12 million hectares of cultivated and natural grassland in Britain, which is equivalent to 2.4 times of the crop area, providing good conditions for the development of animal husbandry.

in the UK, the agricultural structure is mainly animal husbandry. The output value of animal husbandry accounts for about 66% of the total agricultural output value every year, and the output value of herbivorous livestock such as cows, beef cattle and sheep accounts for 60% of the total output value of animal husbandry. While enjoying the rich wealth brought by animal husbandry every year, people are always worried about the occurrence of a disease, that is, foot-and-mouth disease.

history of disasters

understanding of foot-and-mouth disease

foot-and-mouth disease is caused by foot-and-mouth disease virus. It is an acute, hot and highly contact infectious disease shared by major livestock such as pigs, cattle and sheep and other domestic and wild hoofed animals. Among them, calf is the most susceptible to foot-and-mouth disease virus infection. In the epidemic area, the incidence rate of foot and mouth disease can reach 50% to 100%, and the calf has the highest mortality rate.

manifestations of foot-and-mouth disease

so far, foot-and-mouth disease has spread in Britain for more than 170 years. The first recorded foot-and-mouth disease in Britain occurred in August 1839. In the following months, the disease spread rapidly to most parts of England and parts of Scotland, and continued to prevail in 1840 to 1841. But after 1842, the incidence rate of livestock and poultry decreased significantly. At that time, the British government did not popularize the regulation of restricting the movement of animals, and farmers lacked understanding of this regulation. In addition, the mortality rate of foot-and-mouth disease itself to animals was relatively low. Therefore, in the early stage of Britain, the spread of foot-and-mouth disease was not well controlled.

in the following decades, the epidemic of foot-and-mouth disease has been repeated in the UK until a more serious outbreak occurred in 1968. In this epidemic, more than 440000 livestock were slaughtered, causing losses of up to £ 150 million at that time. Then, in the past 33 years until February 2001, there was no major outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the UK, except that a small number of outbreaks occurred in some areas and were quickly extinguished.

epidemic hit again

on February 19, 2001, in Essex, UK, veterinarians found very suspicious symptoms of foot-and-mouth disease during routine inspection of pigs ready to be slaughtered in a slaughterhouse. On the 20th, the laboratory diagnosis of the British Department of Agriculture confirmed that the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak broke out again. On the 21st, a slaughterhouse in Brentwood, southeast England found many sick pigs with foot-and-mouth disease symptoms. Animal foot-and-mouth disease hit again after decades of silence in the UK.

cows on a farm were examined for foot-and-mouth disease.

the British Ministry of health immediately ordered to set up an isolation area 8 kilometers around the slaughterhouse and the two farms supplying pigs to prevent the spread of foot-and-mouth disease. Subsequently, the British government issued a ban on the transportation of cattle, pigs, sheep and goats in the region and the circulation of all livestock that may carry foot-and-mouth disease virus. Since February 25, Britain has launched a new round of slaughtering and burning of sick animals to minimize the risk of the spread of foot-and-mouth disease. At Burnside farm in the northeast of England, huge burning firewood heaps were set up to incinerate livestock carcasses.

on February 27, livestock in 12 regions of the UK showed symptoms of foot-and-mouth disease, but so far, there has been no case of livestock infected with foot-and-mouth disease in other EU countries. On March 1, the epidemic spread to Northern Ireland, forcing a farm close to the Irish border to close and urgently testing livestock for foot-and-mouth disease. By this time, the total number of foot-and-mouth disease in Britain has risen to 26.

when Britain was busy looking for the source of the disease, other countries began to respond one after another: France ordered to ban the entry of Belgian livestock and took some other preventive measures because they suspected that foot-and-mouth disease began to spread from Belgium; Russia completely banned the import of meat products from Britain; Norwegian officials called for the cancellation of the NATO military exercise project with the participation of British troops; The Austrian government advises people not to travel to Britain. Passengers arriving at Vienna Airport from Britain must walk through sterilized carpets; Spain is also busy disinfecting cars arriving from Britain; Even on the other side of the Atlantic, Trinidad and Tobago began banning imports of British meat and cheese products. Subsequently, the EU also began to ban the import of meat, livestock and dairy products from the UK.

on March 13, the epidemic situation of foot-and-mouth disease in Britain deteriorated again, and new cases of foot-and-mouth disease were found in 25 locations in only one day. On the same afternoon, the French Ministry of Agriculture announced that after authoritative testing and demonstration, it had confirmed that livestock suffering from foot-and-mouth disease had been found in a farm in western France. On the same day, the US Department of Agriculture announced a moratorium on the import of all animals and animal meat products from the EU, and other European countries also announced a ban on the import of livestock from France. In addition, Argentina, a South American country, also confirmed the discovery of a case of livestock foot-and-mouth disease.

on March 15, 151 cases of foot-and-mouth disease have occurred in the UK. Then the FAO announced that foot-and-mouth disease has become a global threat and urged countries around the world to take stricter preventive measures and strictly control immigrants and tourists. In addition, food import and export, food carried by tourists and waste from aircraft and ships should be strictly controlled.

on March 17, Britain began slaughtering healthy livestock to prevent the spread of foot-and-mouth disease. By the morning of the 18th, the number of infected cases in BritainIt has reached 297 cases. On March 20, the British Ministry of defense sent about 200 soldiers to the areas with serious epidemic to help farmers slaughter and destroy livestock.

by the evening of April 23, the number of cases of foot-and-mouth disease virus infection in the UK had increased to 1452. At this time, there were still more than 230000 livestock waiting to be slaughtered. By the 25th, the foot-and-mouth disease crisis was basically under control.

epidemic spread in the UK until January 14, 2002. On the 24th, the world organization for Animal Health announced that the UK had completely eliminated foot-and-mouth disease, and then Britain’s meat trade gradually resumed.

cause analysis

since the foot-and-mouth disease appeared again in the UK in February 2001, the British government has sent a large number of investigators to investigate the foot-and-mouth disease again, but for a long time, they have not found the real cause of the outbreak.

on March 27, headless investigators targeted a Chinese restaurant in Northeast Britain. They believe the restaurant may sell smuggled meat from China, which contains the foot-and-mouth disease virus, and the restaurant transported the leftovers to a nearby farm to feed pigs, causing the virus to spread. But a few months later, Nick brown, the British Minister of agriculture, made a speech after meeting with representatives of British Chinese organizations, saying that there was no evidence that the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in the UK was related to Chinese restaurants, and offered 20000 pounds as compensation for the loss of his reputation.

later, some animal husbandry and quarantine experts believed that there were three possible reasons for the occurrence of foot-and-mouth disease: it was introduced through the import of hoofed animals and their products; Brought by tourists from the foot-and-mouth disease epidemic area; In the process of research or vaccine production, foot-and-mouth disease virus leakage due to negligence of management. The last reason is the most likely. Some experts said that the pigs first found to be infected with the virus in the epidemic were transported from Buckinghamshire and the Isle of Wight, and pobright, the world’s largest foot-and-mouth disease laboratory, is located in Surrey, the center of these three locations. The laboratory is the reference laboratory of foot-and-mouth disease of the world organization for animal health. It not only keeps a large number of foot-and-mouth disease viruses, but also produces foot-and-mouth disease vaccines, including the pan subtype foot-and-mouth disease vaccine in the UK.

the British “Sunday Express” published on April 8 once said: the foot-and-mouth disease ravaging the European continent is likely to be a deliberate man-made event. Because two months before the outbreak of the epidemic, in a secret government laboratory in Bolton Town, Wiltshire, UK, when staff conducted routine inspection, they found that the test tube containing the virus for virus research was suddenly lost. The investigation showed that someone deliberately stole the virus.

since then, people from all walks of life have different opinions on the source of the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, and the British government has not given a clear answer.

serious consequences

foot-and-mouth disease has always been known as “the number one killer of the global animal husbandry industry”. Once a cow or sheep infected with foot-and-mouth disease appears, the livestock of the whole country will be shrouded in the shadow of disaster. During the spread of the epidemic, the whole world was terrified, which not only disturbed the local economic and political order, but also affected the life and health of the local people, and seriously damaged the local ecological environment.

the livestock burned in the foot-and-mouth disease crisis

the first epidemic in Britain, in this disaster, not only the trade volume of its own country decreased sharply, but also was “blocked” by neighboring trading countries. During the spread of the epidemic, a total of 2030 cases were found in the UK, and more than 4 million livestock were slaughtered, accounting for about 9% of the total livestock in the UK. Moreover, affected by foot-and-mouth disease, the economic growth rate of the UK slowed to 2% that year, and the economic loss caused to the UK by the epidemic for nearly one year was as high as £ 7 billion. In addition, the British general election originally scheduled for May 3 was also postponed due to the foot-and-mouth disease, which caused great pressure and crisis to the British government.

in addition, according to the independent weekly, the toxic substances produced by the burning of livestock in the UK in order to fight the foot-and-mouth disease are more than the total pollutants produced by all the most toxic factories in the UK. Although the British government did not release clear figures, about 500000 animals were burned in the six weeks to April 6. Since the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, burning firewood piles have been everywhere in the UK. These firewood piles emit more pollutants than these factories ever emit.

with the continuous expansion of the scope of human activities, a variety of diseases have also been spread. When infectious diseases break out, although governments all over the world require people to go out less and prevent transmission, not everyone can strictly abide by the regulations. Therefore, in the current society, in order to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, the most important thing is to popularize prevention knowledge. Only everyone can do their best to prevent the occurrence of large-scale disasters. When the Encyclopedia of




was carried out, the animals infected with foot-and-mouth disease virus mainly showed blister rash on oral mucosa, hoof and breast skin. The virus is contained in the blister fluid, milk, urine, saliva, tears and feces of sick animals. The virus mainly invades through the digestive tract and can also be transmitted through the respiratory tract. It has many ways of transmission and fast speed. It has caused foot-and-mouth disease epidemic all over the world for many times.

now the prevention of foot-and-mouth disease is mainly through vaccine injection. However, it is observed that livestock in an area will have another epidemic within 1 ~ 2 months after effective foot-and-mouth disease vaccine injection. Through research, it is often found that this is because the virus has mutated. The resistance of foot-and-mouth disease virus is very strong. Under the condition of freezing, they can still survive for 120 ~ 170 days; It also takes 60 minutes to kill in direct sunlight.