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European Union veterinary experts meet to discuss British meat ban

British officials are hoping a ban on British livestock, meat and dairy exports could be eased.

European Union veterinary experts met Thursday to assess measures taken to curb the outbreak of foot and mouth disease in southeastern England.

The experts will examine Britain's status as a high-risk zone for meat exports. Farmers say the trade ban is costing them close to 2 million pounds (EUR 2.94 million; US$ 3.96 million) a day in lost income.

EU said Monday the disease situation was evolving "favorably," while British Chief Veterinary Officer Debby Reynolds said she was hoping for an easing of the ban.

The disease, first confirmed Aug. 3, struck two cattle farms 30 miles (50 kilometers) southwest of London and sparked worries of a repeat of a major 2001 outbreak, when 7 million animals were slaughtered and British meat was shut out of world markets for months.

The disease affects cloven-hoofed animals, including cows, sheep, pigs and goats.

Around 600 animals have been slaughtered as a result of the latest outbreak.

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