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Farmers' Buetongue Mission to France

05 November 2007

UK - Three leading East Anglian livestock farmers will visit France on Monday to find out about the impact of bluetongue across the Channel.
Suffolk farmers' leader John Collen and mid-Norfolk farmer, Roger Long, and sheep producer Andrew Foulds, of Elveden, near Thetford, will talk to officials of farming unions in France and also hope to meet government officials.

Organised by the National Farmers' Union, the small delegation want to understand how the livestock industry is coping with outbreaks of the midge-borne bluetongue virus.

They travel to France tomorrow and will be visiting beef and sheep enteprises in the Pas de Calais region on Monday. Then, the party will meet the president and other members of the region's beef association followed by a final visit to a dairy farm.

Mr Long, of Scarning, near Dereham, who is a member of the NFU's regional livestock board, hoped to gain a better understanding of how farmers are managing to cope with bluetongue.

Since September 22, when the first case of the disease in Britain, which infects cattle, sheep, goats and deer, was confirmed in a Highland cow on a farm at Baylham, near Ipswich, the same strain, Bluetongue Virus 8, has also been detected in Denmark and earlier this week in Switzerland.

Bluetongue has now spread across virtually the whole of northern Europe, covering most of France and across Belgium, Holland and Germany, and about 30,000 cases have been confirmed since last summer. A case of the same strain has been found in northern Switzerland, close to the border with France and Germany.

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Source: EDP24


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