Activitats URL

            topic:  Reading /  the livestock disease
            level: 2on cycle ESO 
            material: online newspaper

    •  To read an article from an online newspaper
    •  To be able to find the information in the article and to answer some questions
    •  To learn new vocabulary
    •  To practise reading and writing in English. 


This is an article from CNN (March 1,2001). Read it and answer the questions listed at the bottom. Write long answers.

Six more UK farms hit by disease

March 1, 2001
LONDON, England -- Six new foot-and-mouth cases were confirmed in the UK on Thursday as the livestock disease spread to Scotland and Northern Ireland.

A UK Ministry of Agriculture spokesman told CNN 32 farms are now known have been infected. The latest cases in Britain are at two farms in Dumfries, southern Scotland and three in Cumbria, north west England. Another outbreak -- at South Armagh in Northern Ireland -- was confirmed after the farm was sealed off overnight. 

Governments across Europe have stepped up measures to prevent the  highly-contagious disease reaching their countries. France is preparing to slaughter another 30,000 sheep and Germany has admitted it will not be able to give the all-clear until the end of March. Officials in the central German state of Hesse said on Thursday that sheep brought to the area from one of the UK farms infected with the virus were to be slaughtered. Checks are being introduced on travelers from the UK in many countries including Portugal, where all British tourists now have to douse their feet in disinfectant as they arrive. 

Foot-and-mouth disease affects animals with cloven hooves such as pigs, sheep and cows. It is harmless to humans and is not even fatal to most animals, but it destroys their economic value. The    virus can travel miles by air or on clothing or vehicle tyres. 

The farm in South Armagh -- which

 recently imported 200 sheep from Carlisle, in north west England -- is just two miles (3.2 kilometres) from the border of the Irish Republic. The livestock industry is a key part of the economy there. The Republic's Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern, has expressed "huge concern" at the possibility of foot-and-mouth so close to the border of his country. Vehicles are being disinfected at ports and border crossings and sheep recently brought in from Britain are being slaughtered.

France is to destroy another 30,000 sheep which have been in contact with animals from Britain since February 1. That is on top of a cull of 20,000 animals already announced. Farm Minister Jean Glavany said France had yet to record any suspected cases of food-mouth but was wary because a large number of sheep had been imported from Britain ahead of the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice) on March 5. 

German officials in North Rhine-Westphalia said on Thursday they expected confirmation that sheep from two farms, which were found to have foot-and-mouth antibodies in their blood, had tested negative for the virus itself. But they said they were still on their guard. Baerbel Hoehn, environment and farm minister in the state, told German television: "Based on the incubation period, we will be out of the woods by mid-March but we won't be able to really relax until the end of March. March will be a problematic month." 

Five farms in the eastern state of Brandenburg, which have imported pigs from Britain, remain under complete quarantine. All livestock markets and auction grounds in Germany were closed for a week from Wednesday. The Netherlands and Belgium have also ordered the slaughter of animals linked to UK farms. Travellers from Britain are being told at some European airports and ports to surrender any food from home or bought in transit in case it carries the virus. In Portugal disinfectant foot baths are being installed at all border posts for passengers arriving from the UK. 

The British government has brought in sweeping measures to try to contain the foot-and-mouth outbreak. Prime Minister Tony Blair introduced fines of up to £5,000 ($7,200) to ensure  people observed the no-go status imposed on large tracts of rural Britain. Chief Veterinary Officer Jim Scudamore said on Thursday he expected more cases to emerge. "These are all linked to a large extent with movements that took place before we put the complete ban (on livestock movements) on the 23rd February," he told BBC radio. He said officials were currently assessing whether it would be necessary to cull wildlife to prevent foxes and deer spreading the disease. 

A worldwide ban on British livestock and animal products is in force, costing the country £8 million ($12 million) a week in lost sales. 

The Associated Press & Reuters contributed to this report.

Comprehension questions
  1. How many farms have been infected with the livestock disease in the UK? 
  2. Is the disease reaching other countries? 
  3. Which European countries have already stepped up measures to prevent the highly contagious disease reaching their countries? 
  4. Which animals can be affected by foot-and-mouth disease? 
  5. Does this disease affect people? 
  6. How does the virus travel? 
  7. What kind of measures do the different governments take to prevent the foot-and-mouth disease? 
  8. Which measure has introduced Toni Blair to ensure  people observed the no-go status imposed on large tracts of rural Britain? 
  9. Who is Toni Blair? 
  10. Use a dictionary to define the verbs:
    • to slaughter 
    • to douse 
    • to cull