European Union vets have given the go-ahead to proposals from the European Commission for some relaxation of restrictions on the movement of live animals in the Netherlands arising out of foot and mouth disease. However restrictions at present applying in the UK will be extended until 19 June.

The Committee also said that the Netherlands could start transporting live pigs, fresh meat and other products from specified areas. Meanwhile, it added that fresh meat on its way to Europe from Uruguay could be allowed into the EU if produced before March 23 and de-boned and maturated meat, if produced before April 23. Uruguay has banned exports of meat and introduced a vaccination programme after a FMD outbreak from April 23. The Commission hopes to allow resumed imports 30 days after the vaccination has been completed on May 24.

By Alan Osborn, correspondent