German authorities are mulling a decision to send out the first deployment of armed troops inside its borders since Adolf Hitler controlled the country. The conservative CDU party has called for troops specialised in biological and chemical warfare to be drafted in immediately amid fears that police and border controls alone cannot cope with the threat of foot and mouth disease.

Since a case was confirmed in France, fears of a devastating global epidemic of foot and mouth are widespread. So far nearly 4,500 animals have been slaughtered in a bid to contain the highly contagious virus and all French meat on the country’s supermarket shelves has been gathered up and burnt.

Together with ministers from the German states that border with France, including the Rhineland-Palatinate, the CDU was responding to growing public pressure with its demand for army forces to seal off farms and guard borders. 

From Berlin, the defence ministry today commented: “We cannot rule out such an operation.”