London Britain will slaughter nearly all livestock on farms adjacent to foot-and-mouth infection sites, agriculture officials announced Saturday, as farmers and politicians struggled to absorb dire predictions about the scope of the outbreak.
The agriculture ministry said there had already been some slaughtering of pigs, sheep and cows on farms neighboring those where the virus has been found.
The new move now makes that policy official, said Agriculture Minister Nick Brown and Jim Scudamore, the country's chief veterinarian.
Meanwhile, hopes of quickly containing the disease's spread in continental Europe waned as the Netherlands confirmed a fourth case in the northeastern province of Gelderland. France the other nation on the continent hit by the outbreak banned most exports of meat, milk and other products a day after its second case was found. The disease also has migrated to Ireland.
It was not immediately clear how many more animals would be slated for destruction under Britain's new "contiguous culling" policy.
So far, 525,000 livestock have been culled or are awaiting slaughter.
An Agriculture Ministry spokesman said veterinarians would make sure animals in neighboring farms were at risk before slaughtering them.