Zynga, the makers of popular on-line games found on social networking site Facebook have released a statement asking all Farmville users to cull all livestock on their farms.
The shocking request comes days after one Farmville user in Burton-on-Trent, UK, noticed that one of her flock of sheep was acting strangely and refusing to release a cloud of red hearts when petted.
Before Zynga could react to the infection, a particularly nasty strain of Foot and Mouth disease had spread throughout farms in northern Europe and parts of Asia.
Bob Zyng, creator of Farmville, said that he could not explain how the infection may have started and empathised with users and the gruesome task that lay ahead of them.
"Some users have nurtured a cow or chicken from day one of their game playing experience and will have grow very attached to the creature. Putting a bolt through your best producing cows head would be the last thing they want to do."
Zynga have said in a brief statement that they hope the swift action of users in the mass cull event will enable future generations of livestock to prosper on Farmville farms. To aid the destruction of all animal carcases, tyre fires and bulldozers will be available free of charge in the Farmville market place, smouldering ash optional.