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Country Fair cancelled


ONE OF the most important Autumn County Fairs in Surrey was cancelled last week, due to the latest outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease on farmland in the county.

Surrey County Agricultural Society’s executive committee took the decision last week to cancel the Surrey County Ploughing Match and Country Fair which was to be held at Loseley Park this Sunday, September 23rd.

Ironically, Loseley Park was the venue of this year’s Richmond Championship Dog Show, held just two weeks ago. Concern had been raised about the long incubation period of the FMD virus and whether visitors and dogs to the show might have inadvertently carried the disease further afield having been present in the contaminated area. However, no FMD outbreaks have been reported outside of Surrey, although all visitors to Richmond show are urged to be vigilant as to any rural areas they may recently visited with their dogs.

Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) is an extremely contagious viral disease that affects cloven-footed animals, especially domestic cattle, pigs, sheep and goats. The disease is rarely fatal to adult infected animals, but causes pain and suffering to those animals, which lead to a severe drop in production. The disease can be devastating to the economy of an infected country.

The virus that causes FMD can be inactivated by several disinfectants, including household bleach. It can be killed by extremes in pH, sunlight, and high temperatures, although the virus has been shown to survive pasteurisation at 72 degrees C (15 seconds). It can survive in the environment at freezing temperatures: It can survive in the soil for almost a month in cool weather, about three days during the summer months. It may even live in stored hay for up to 4 to 5 months in cool, dry conditions.

Although Foot and Mouth Disease does not pose a serious risk to human health, humans can act as vectors for the virus and can spread infection among animals or between farms.
Horses and other animals, including dogs and cats, are not susceptible to disease from the FMD virus. However, like humans, these animals can act as vectors of the virus and spread it to susceptible animals.

The DEFRA movement restrictions on animals does not apply to pet animals that are not susceptible to the FMD virus. However, dogs and other pets and animals that exercise outdoors may carry infection by physical contamination.

DEFRA advises that dogs should be kept on a lead where there may be livestock, and if possible avoid walking them close to livestock. If a premises is under suspicion of infection, dogs must be shut in or otherwise confined

With thanks to Pet Club UK