While most readers of The Jurga Report live a long, long way from the south of England, it is very instructive to pay attention to the systems being put in place there to contain a recent outbreak of dreaded foot and mouth disease.
I've made some previous posts this week about the disease itself and how it is spread; it can even be carried through the air on the wind. One area of great concern is that it would cling to trucks or be picked up on tires, so motorized transport in and out of the affected zone is being curtailed.
Surrey is a beautiful county south of London, stretching down to the coast. As I recall, the showgrounds at Hickstead are in Surrey, or very near there. It is a very, very horsey area.
The horse owners who suffer most are those who have cattle, sheep or pigs living on the same farm as their horses.
From what we are seeing on the news, this information is based on the situation earlier this week, but these are the basic rules. I think that the zone may be larger now.
If an outbreak happened here, how would you be affected? Coming as this does after more than 30 days of record-setting rain and the cancellation of many shows, horse owners in the zone may have been planning to show or sell their horses in August. Now they'll be staying at home.
The whole world is keeping an eye on Surrey, although you may not hear much about it on US news media. (Turn on your National Public Radio station and listen to the BBC World Report, or check out the BBC web site's FAM page for the latest news.)
MOVEMENT OF HORSES INSIDE PROTECTION ZONE
A nationwide ban on the movement of cattle and pigs has been imposed, with a three-kilometre protection zone in place around the affected farm in Surrey and a further ten-kilometre zone of cattle surveillance. An eight-kilometre aerial exclusion zone has been set up around the site.
Currently, horses can be moved in and out the protection zone only under licence ? obtainable from the local Animal Health Office until further notice.
Horses cannot be moved from premises to premises within the protection zone if they are kept alongside ruminants (rough translation: cattle, sheep, etc. are housed on the same farm as a horse).
Horseboxes where susceptible species are kept cannot be moved without a licence (rough translation: if you have cattle, sheep etc. on your farm, you can't move your horse van or trailer).
Hacking (trail riding) within the zone is not allowed.
MOVEMENT OF HORSES OUTSIDE PROTECTION ZONE
So far, horses are not subject to movement restrictions and shows can take place as normal.
At present, horse travel overseas is not subjected to restrictions.
HOW FOOT-AND-MOUTH SPREADS
* Direct contact, from animal to animal
* Fluid from an infected animal's blister; saliva, milk or dung also pass on the disease
* Animals eating infected feed
* Virus can be spread by people or vehicles, if not disinfected
* Airborne spread of disease also possible
* Animals can begin spreading virus before visible signs of disease emerge.