NZ Steps Up Cattle Disease Vigilance

NEW ZEALAND - Britain's environment and food ministry said yesterday that the highly infectious disease was detected in cattle on a farm in Surrey, southwest of London.
calendar icon 6 August 2007
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Authorities have culled cattle at the farm and have been scrambling to prevent an outbreak like that in 2001 that crippled the farming and tourism industries in Britain.

New Zealand exports did benefit during that widespread outbreak, which was compounded by the mad cow disease or BSE scare.

Meat and Wool New Zealand chairman Mike Petersen said yesterday that New Zealand had filled 98 per cent of its beef export quota to Europe and 78 per cent of its sheep quota. "So there is very limited scope for us to put more product into Europe anyway."

The early start to the season here also meant farmers did not have stock available to meet any increased demand from European customers to make up for a shortfall because of a ban on British meat exports.

Demand from Britain could fall as the export ban forced British farmers to sell on the local market.

"Until we see the extent of the outbreak we just don't know whether that is going to change demand or change pricing over the next few weeks," Mr Petersen said. "But you would not wish this on your worst enemy."

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