British food retailers warned that emergency measures adopted by the government to attempt to halt the spread of hoof-and-mouth disease, discovered in the UK last week, are liable to cause food shortages in the near term.

All importation of live animals and movement of farm animals has been prohibited in an effort to stop spread of the devastating and highly contagious animal sickness. As a result of these measures, animals cannot be put to the slaughter, and shortages of all forms of meat are possible unless the ban is lifted within a few days.

It was discovered today that hoof and mouth has been present on a farm in Scotland for at least three weeks, enough time for the disease to have spread across the whole of the British Isles. This has created an emergency situation, and may lead to the slaughter of massive numbers of animals in an effort to contain the infection.

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