London : Environment Secretary Hilary Benn confirmed Tuesday a cull of cattle on a second farm was being carried out after another outbreak of foot and mouth was detected.
He told BBC’s Breakfast that the findings of a probe into the source of the first outbreak at the weekend were also due.
Britain’s chief veterinary officer would confirm later that tests done overnight would show it was foot-and-mouth, Benn said.
The second outbreak was said to be inside the original 3 km protection zone that was set up around the site of the first farm, near Guildford, some 50 kms south of London, where up to 100 cows were culled.
Farmers had expressed hopes the outbreak of the highly contagious viral disease had been contained.
The last epidemic of foot-and-mouth in 2001 led to between 6.5 million and 10 million animals being destroyed, costing the industry some Pnds 8.5 billion (Dlrs 17 bn).
Media speculation was that the source of the outbreak had been embarrassingly traced to nearby laboratories, which had been using a strain of the virus for research and for vaccines.
Chief veterinary officer Debby Reynolds said it was possible recent floods may have contributed to an accidental release of the virus from one of the labs.