TheDairySite.com - news, features, articles and disease information for the dairy industry

TheDairySite Bluetongue Disease News

Time Ticking Down on Bluetongue Vaccine

25 March 2008

UK - The National Farmers Union Scotland (NFUS) Vice-President, Nigel Miller, met with members from the East Central Region to qualm fears and discuss developments on the bluetongue vaccination programme
There are a number of proposed options on the table and Mr Miller has taken the time to travel the length and breadth of the country to speak to as many livestock farming members as possible. Nigel’s tour was designed to update members on the latest Bluetongue developments and to hear which course of action they wish the Union to take.

Farmers in the East Central area highlighted a number of issues including concern over pedigree herds and the area’s high population of deer (which can carry the Bluetongue virus) for which a programme of vaccination would be impossible. Members also expressed concerns over the consequences of any Bluetongue outbreak on the rural economy and how crucial it is that the risk is managed effectively.

NFUS Vice-President, Nigel Miller said: “We, along with other stakeholders, have advised the Scottish Government that they should order vaccine as soon as possible so that we can use it should there be an outbreak of Bluetongue within Scotland. We must remember however, that this is a very fluid and fast-moving situation; for example, it is only a few weeks since we discovered that the disease could be passed from an expectant mother to her calf.

“SAC, Pirbright, EPIC and a group of meteorologists are carrying out a series of modelling exercises to establish the potential impact, control mechanisms and costs of a Bluetongue outbreak.

“The interim report will be available soon and the final report in the next month, so it will be worth waiting to see its results before we finalise what approach should be taken regarding zonal, step-by-step or all Scotland basis. Compulsory vaccination can deliver a real dividend in disease control terms, but crucial operational and funding detail still has to be established.

“With regard to sheep tagging, NFU Scotland is currently running a petition in conjunction with the Scottish Farmer and it is crucial that as many people as possible sign up to it. We aim to get the support of every single person working in the Scottish sheep industry as this will strengthen our voice when we meet EU decision makers to highlight how impractical double tagging is.”

TheCattleSite News Desk


Partners


Seasonal Picks

Managing Pig Health: A Reference for the Farm - 2nd Edition