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Farmers Must Ensure Imported Animals are Bluetongue-Free

11 September 2008

UK - The NFU has issued a stark warning to all livestock keepers to be extremely careful when sourcing cattle and sheep from parts of the European Community where bluetongue is known to be circulating.

NFU President Peter Kendall said: "While I understand and recognise the pressures on livestock farmers to source top genetics, I really do question the logic of sourcing stock from areas where we know bluetongue is circulating this year.

"If farmers really feel that they have to source animals from these areas then they must take the tightest possible control measures in order to protect their animals and the animals of other livestock farmers.

"They need to be confident that either the animals have been correctly vaccinated and met all the appropriate conditions of the vaccine or they must be sure that the animals are not carrying the bluetongue virus through thorough testing.

"There is no evidence at the moment that the BTv8 virus is circulating in the UK but we've now seen three cases where animals imported from other member states have tested positive and it would be an absolute disaster if farmers themselves were to import the virus and then it was to circulate.

"The industry must help itself - it has the opportunity to take control of this virus itself through vaccination and through a very cautious and sensible approach to the sourcing of animals from areas where the virus is circulating. Let's not miss this opportunity

"Farmers who have vaccinated their stock will, of course, have done all that they can to protect themselves. However, there are still farmers that have to vaccinate and in some counties in the North of England as few as one in five have done so far. The vaccine is available now for everyone in England and Wales and I would encourage everyone to vaccinate now. The message is clear - don't hesitate, vaccinate."

TheCattleSite News Desk


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