Longtown is the location of the largest sheep market in England. The first animal to be found to be infected with foot-and-mouth disease in the 2001 crisis had been purchased at Longtown market. While at the market it spread the infection to other animals. The size of the Longtown sheep market meant that the disease had spread right across the country in a very short time. Longtown became the centre for control of the disease in south western Scotland and north western England.