Compiled byTom Mudd The beleaguered European meat industry suffered another blow this week when officials found the highly contagious hoof-and-mouth disease at a slaughterhouse in England. The European Union responded by imposing a temporary ban on exports of British milk and beef. Meat consumption across Europe has already declined by a reported 27% in the wake of fears of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, the scientific term for mad cow disease. Hoof-and-mouth disease is not transferable to humans, but it is highly contagious in sheep, cattle, and pigs. This is the first outbreak of the disease in Britain in 20 years. In 1967, during an epidemic of hoof-and-mouth disease, hundreds of thousands of animals were destroyed to stop its spread.