EU recommends easing pig export ban

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A European Union veterinary committee Tuesday recommended to reduce a ban on the export of live pigs, and pig semen coming from England to just three counties.

A European Union veterinary committee Tuesday recommended to reduce a ban on the export of live pigs, and pig semen coming from England to just three counties.

The EU's standing veterinary committee, which includes senior veterinary scientists from each of the 15 member nations recommended that the limited ban be maintained until it is reviewed again at its next meeting Sept. 5.

The recommendation calls for the ban, which applied to the whole of England, will be reduced to Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex.

According to Wolf Valder, Germany's senior veterinary officer, the committee was "satisfied with the measures taken by the British to limit the spread of swine fever," he said.

An EU-wide ban was introduced on Aug. 14 after an outbreak of swine fever was reported in East Anglia Aug. 8.

EU officials were not sure as to the cause of this latest outbreak of the virus, but said last week it might be linked to a similar strain found in East Asian countries.

An EU laboratory in Hannover, Germany released preliminary findings on the virus late Monday and said the strain was from an unknown source, newly introduced to the EU.

The last outbreak of swine fever ravaged Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and Belgium in 1997. EU officials said no new cases were reported in Britain since Aug. 12.

Some 12,000 pigs have been slaughtered so far in order to bring the highly infectious disease under control.

The Commission said a total of five cases of swine fever have been confirmed, all in the region of East Anglia.

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