The EU imposed an indefinite ban today on exports of live animals from Great Britain after an outbreak of foot and mouth disease on a farm in southeast England. The floods that have swamped the English countryside may have played a role in the outbreak, the Guardian reports, and PM Gordon Brown has cut short his vacation to deal with the crisis.
The UK had argued fruitlessly for the EU to hold off on imposing a ban until investigators had a handle on the breadth of the outbreak. It applies to cattle, sheep and goats as well as meat and milk products. Another possible origin of the outbreak, the first in the UK since 2001, is a nearby private laboratory that produces vaccines.