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Russia to ban imports of pork and pigs from Britain

Russia's veterinary watchdog announced Monday that the imports of pork and pigs from Britain are to be banned after an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in this country.

The ban, effective immediately, applies to live pigs and wild cloven-hoofed animals as well as their meat, the agency, Rosselkhoznadzor, said in a statement. Restrictions imposed earlier on other livestock imports from Britain remain in force, the agency said.

Britain has banned exports of livestock, meat and milk and halted the movement of cattle, sheep, goats and pigs nationwide to prevent the spread of the virus.

Foot-and-mouth disease affects cloven-hoofed animals including cows, sheep, pigs and goats, but does not typically affect humans.

The United States, Japan, New Zealand and other nations also have banned British pigs and pork products in response to last week's outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.

The outbreak is the first known case of the disease in Britain since 2001, when a foot-and-mouth epidemic started with a pig herd in northern England, spread to cows and sheep and eventually led to the slaughter of 7 million head of livestock.

Ukraine also banned imports of all British animal meat and animals susceptible to the disease, the Interfax-Ukraine news agency reported, citing veterenary officials.

No one could be reached at the Ukrainian veterinary department for comment after hours Monday.