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NFU Calls for Import Suspension

26 November 2008

UK - The National Farmers Union has today called for the Government and the cattle and sheep industry in Great Britain to stand together and suspend imports of cattle and sheep from areas where Bluetongue is known to be circulating in light of news that BTv1 has been detected in a batch of cattle imported from France.

NFU President Peter Kendall said: "The health and welfare of our cattle and sheep sectors must be our paramount concern and this recent incident of a batch of imported cattle testing positive for BTv1 is a major concern for all livestock keepers.

"There is currently no evidence that the BTv1 virus is circulating in the UK so our main priority must be to keep this BTv serotype out of the country.

"No vaccine manufacture has currently licensed a BTv1 vaccine in the UK so we do not have vaccine to allow farmers to protect their own stock at the moment.

"As an industry we need to know more about how these animals, which we understand had been vaccinated for BTv1 in France, tested positive for the virus when they arrived in England.

"In light of the uncertainty and the enormous risk to our industry it is only right that we do all that we can to protect our livestock sector and at the moment I believe that this means that we should suspend imports from BTv areas.

"I am sure that no farmer wants to import BTv1 into the country and therefore until we are confident that the controls on moving animals from BTv areas, as set out in the EU regulations, are working effectively to protect our livestock then we should suspend imports from these areas."

The NFU will be talking to Defra and other industry organisations about this very important issue in the coming days.

TheCattleSite News Desk


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