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Brit Farmers Resuming Pork Exports

October 10, 2001

LONDON (AP) _ Britain will begin exporting pork this month for the first time since the foot-and-mouth epidemic crippled the nation’s farming industry.

Counties that have not had a case of the disease and do not adjoin high-risk areas will be able to export pork and bacon from Oct. 22.

Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett welcomed the decision, which was made Wednesday by the European Union’s Standing Veterinary Committee.

``Naturally, I am delighted ... but it is important not to drop our guard,″ she said.

Peter Hardwick of the Meat and Livestock Commission said the industry would ``be working hard to re-establish our pig meat exports as soon as possible and secure the lifting of restrictions in other areas.″

The National Farmers’ Union and the National Pig Association said the lifting of the ban was desperately needed.

``This is the first of many steps that will need to be taken to rebuild Britain’s livestock industry after the devastation that has been caused by foot-and-mouth,″ said Ben Gill, president of the farmers union.

Exports of lamb and other animal products remain restricted.

There have been more than 2,000 cases of foot-and-mouth since the outbreak was first reported on Feb. 20, and the department said the epidemic is not yet over. The airborne illness does not affect humans but diminishes animals’ productivity and harms trade.

More than 3.8 million animals _ mostly cattle, sheep and pigs _ have been killed to prevent the spread of the disease.

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