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Protection Zone Spreads Across All of Wales

02 September 2008

WALES, UK - A Bluetongue Protection Zone will cover the whole of Wales from 00.01 Monday, 1 September, the Welsh Assembly Government announced Friday, 29 August. Farmers are being urged to vaccinate their animals as soon as they can.

The cases of Bluetongue in imported cattle in Devon, confirmed today, serves as a stark warning to farmers of the importance of vaccination. This incident is a clear emonstration that Bluetongue remains a very real threat to the Welsh livestock industry. Vaccination is the best protection against the disease.

As well as urging farmers to vaccinate, the Welsh Assembly Government is reminding farmers of their responsibility to protect their industry against the disease by:

  • thinking carefully about where they source their animals and

  • avoid moving them to Wales from areas where Bluetongue is circulating.

The existing Protection Zone which currently covers South East Wales will be extended to cover the whole country on Monday. This will enable vaccination against Bluetongue to take place across all of Wales.

September is the period of highest risk for Bluetongue, and last year the first case of Bluetongue in Great Britain happened in this month. Over recent weeks there have been over 5,000 new cases of Bluetongue in northern Europe. This figure continues to rise .

Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones said:

The cases in Devon clearly show that Bluetongue is a real threat to Wales ' agriculture industry.

The best protection we have against it is vaccination. That is why I would urge farmers to vaccinate as soon as they can. If they haven’t already done so they must contact their private vet now to make the necessary arrangements. Farmers need to act to protect their livestock and vaccination is the best defence against this disease. The Welsh Assembly Government has ensured access to vaccine for Welsh farmers - the responsibility now rests with individual farmers to protect their animals.

We have the vaccine this year. We didn’t last year. But it will only make a difference if it’s used. The risk of Bluetongue is very real. Don’t wait. Protect your livestock, your business and the industry as a whole. Vaccinate now.

Wales Chief Vet Dr Christianne Glossop said:

If animals are not vaccinated farmers will be putting their own and their neighbour’s livestock and business at risk. The Protection Zone now covers all of Wales, and this is the opportunity for Welsh farmers to protect their livelihood. It is their responsibility to do this.

I would ask farmers to get ready to vaccinate from September 1st. Vaccinating now will help protect their livestock and livelihood.

Wales has ordered 7.5m doses of the vaccine, with 1m already used in the existing protection Zone of South East Wales. The remainder will be distributed across the whole of Wales and is available from veterinary practices. The Welsh Assembly Government has been working closely with the industry on the roll-out of vaccination in Wales.

Subject to current movement regulations animals can move freely within the Protection Zone in Wales and England. The protection provided by the Bluetongue movement controls will be removed and animals currently in the existing Protection Zone, including areas which have had cases of Bluetongue, will be able to move into all parts of Wales. Vaccination is the only protection against Bluetongue in the Protection Zone. Animals that have not been vaccinated can also move within the Protection Zone but it is highly desirable for as many animals as possible to be vaccinated in order to reduce their risk of spreading infection.


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