Britain, Ireland Suspend Racing Because of Disease

Britain, Ireland Suspend Racing Because of Disease
Photo: Associated Press/ Bridget Jones
Richmond Park was closed on Monday due to the implementation of protective measures against the spread of foot-and-mouth disease.
Officials in Great Britain have ruled that horse racing will be suspended for at least a week, effective Wednesday, because of an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. In Ireland, racing also has been canceled, and horses and Greyhounds can't be shipped to the island country from Great Britain.

"I can confirm that horse racing in Britain has been suspended until March 7," Jockey Club spokesman John Maxse told the Reuters news service.

An outbreak of the extremely infectious foot-and-mouth disease in cattle, pigs, and sheep in Great Britain has greatly affected the horse industry even though the animals can only be carriers of the disease. Racing at Newcastle was canceled Monday, and at Chepstow Wednesday, because the racecourses fall within or are near a Ministry of Agriculture exclusion zone.

Officials in Great Britain met Monday to discuss the outbreak of the disease, which causes blisters near the hoof. Earlier, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food had confirmed that horse racing would continue after the blanket ban on the transportation of livestock effective Feb. 23.

A foot-and-mouth outbreak in 1967-68 forced a shutdown of horse racing in Great Britain for six weeks.

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