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Disbelief and Fury at Bluetongue Threat

11 September 2008

UK - Yesterday saw a flurry of activity across the country as authorities desperately sought to reduce the risk of bluetongue disease flaring up in the UK.
As they moved into action commentators from across the farming industry were expressing their total disbelief that the threats have been entirely inflicted by fellow farmers.

DEFRA confirmed that 18 out of 35 cattle imported from Germany had proved positive for strain eight of bluetongue.

Initially it was thought that these animals were in Northumberland, but in fact they are on a farm near Bishop Auckland, County Durham, where they remain under surveillance.

Details of sex and breed have not been released but previous problems with imports from Germany have related to dairy heifers.

The other threat reported exclusively in The Courier yesterday related to a pedigree animal in transit from an area of France where both strain eight and strain one of the bluetongue virus are circulating.

It transpires that there were more likely two animals in the consignment, a bull and a heifer.

They were heading for a farm in Aberdeenshire but determined efforts by Scottish Government animal health officials, alerted by an application for a movement licence, managed to persuade the purchaser to stop the lorry and unload the animals at a farm in England where they will undergo further tests.

The identity of the purchaser or the breed of animals have not as yet been unearthed but there was widespread fury yesterday that such a selfish action should put the whole Scottish livestock industry at risk.

The president of the Scottish Beef Cattle Association, John Cameron, said, “The risk of bluetongue coming to Scotland from natural causes was substantial in itself without the deliberate import of animals from already affected areas.

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Source: Scotland Courier


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