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Union Issues France 'No Go' Warning

04 September 2008

UK - NFU Scotland is urging all livestock producers to avoid sourcing livestock in France or run the growing risk of bringing the disease, bluetongue into Scotland’s disease free area.
The French vaccination policy has failed to control bluetongue and the country is now struggling to contain two different strains of the disease. This summer, France has recorded more than 8000 new cases of BTV8 (the same strain present in the UK) and almost 200 cases of BTV1. Animals allegedly vaccinated under the French voluntary vaccination programme can legitimately be imported into Scotland under EU rules but given the huge upsurge in disease in France, NFUS believes Scottish producers should make France a ‘No Go Area’.

NFU Scotland Vice-president, Nigel Miller is attending the EU Sheep Industry conference being held in Limoges, France tomorrow (Thursday, 4 September) and will gain first hand evidence of the disease spread.

Ahead of the visit, Nigel said:

“The bluetongue control policy in France and its voluntary approach appears to have failed to prevent the disease from spreading rapidly across the country. They have the added complication of trying to control two different strains of the disease. However, both strains bring huge implications for the health and welfare of France’s cattle and sheep.

“We have been contacted by a number of producers looking to bring stock in from France this summer. While this may be legitimate under EU rules, the risks posed to Scotland’s disease free status far outweigh any benefit to be had. We would urge producers to make France a ‘No Go Area’ and only consider importation once the country and the rest of Europe have demonstrated that disease is under control.

“The recent import into England of French rams and German cattle carrying the disease must serve as a wake up call to anyone considering bringing in stock – not just from France but also from those other EU member states affected by the disease. If any UK farmer proceeds with importation from abroad, they run the risk of bringing in either strain of disease. That may ensure that their legacy for our livestock industry will be based around the responsibility for further incursions of bluetongue or, worse still, the introduction of a new strain of this devastating disease.”

TheCattleSite News Desk


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