Science: Slaughtering for Safety

The Smithfield Show, Britain's largest agricultural exhibition, is normally a roistering barnyard symphony of bleats, moos and grunts. But this year virtually the only sound to be heard in the show grounds at London's cavernous Earl's Court was the occasional roar of a tractor. For the first time in memory not a single animal was competing for the Smithfield's blue ribbons. The reason: one of the most virulent outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease in modern British history.

Borne by the Wind. Though foot-and-mouth disease is rarely fatal—most animals recover after two or three weeks of painful blisters on the hoof, tongue and inside...

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