The first case of foot-and-mouth disease in continental Europe was confirmed in Mayenne in the north-west of France on Tuesday. The Ministry of Agriculture announced this morning that the cow originated from a farm of 114 cattle, all of which were slaughtered and incinerated last night. The herd was in an area under constant surveillance since a shipment of 750 British sheep were identified there three weeks ago. The discovery, in the heart of prime herd-rearing France, has destroyed hopes that the disease had been successfully contained in Britain. The North-west of France is home to almost 60 per cent of France's pigs, representing 11.4 million animals, and 1.957million out of a total of 4.42 million, dairy cattle.