Citing the strides made in bringing foot-and-mouth disease under control, EU Health Commissioner David Byrne urged trading partners to lift the import ban on live animals and meat.

Byrne says the import ban should be limited to Britain and the Netherlands, who are still dealing with FMD. Countries such as France and Ireland have successfully eradicated FMD and should not be further penalized by the ban.

About 3 million animals believed to be infected with the disease, or at high risk for catching the disease, were slaughtered as a result of the outbreak. Estimates put the cost of fighting the disease at $518 million in Britain alone. The EU had $35 million available in its 2001 budget to deal with the crisis and has earmarked $242 million in the next budget years to help farmers recover from the outbreak.

Associated Press