Swine fever spreads to two more counties

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The Independent Online

Two more farms have been hit by an outbreak of swine fever, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food said yesterday. The announcement brings the number of pigs to be slaughtered to 6,350.

Two more farms have been hit by an outbreak of swine fever, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food said yesterday. The announcement brings the number of pigs to be slaughtered to 6,350.

Under EU rules, the farms, in Norfolk and Essex, will now have to kill all 2,850 of their pigs. It emerged on Monday that a farm in Suffolk had to slaughter all 3,500 of its pigs after becoming the first in the UK to be hit by the disease for 14 years.

The infected holding in Norfolk is a breeding farm, and supplied pigs to the farms in Essex and Suffolk. The farm in Suffolk is owned by BQP (British Quality Pigs) of Framlington, a subsidiary of Associated British Foods. A spokeswoman for BQP said the fever was "devastating" news for the company.

A Maff spokeswoman said yesterday: "The chain of contamination has been contained." Though she did not rule out the possibility of the highly infectious disease, which is harmless to humans, spreading, she said: "We really can't predict that at the moment. We hope it won't spread and we're doing everything within our power to prevent that happening."

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