An outbreak of foot and mouth disease has interrupted race meets and horse transport in Great Britain and Ireland. Foot and mouth disease is an acute, highly contagious, viral infection of domestic and wild cloven-hooved animals. Horses are resistant to the disease, but can transmit it to livestock if they have traveled through a contaminated area and carry it on the surface of their body.

The British Horse Society has advised horse owners to keep off riding trails, farmland, and roads in rural areas until all danger of the disease spreading has passed. Postponement of equine events also has been recommended.

According to a Reuters report, the outbreak of the disease has paralyzed Britain’s agriculture industry and a ministerial crisis meeting was called for on Tuesday. Britain has halted export of livestock, although horses were not included in the ban.

Look for updates on the British Horse Society web site,

The latest on the Foot and Mouth outbreak is available from the MAFF website, –SC