Vaccination Pleas in Wales as French Outbreak Soars

UK - NFU Cymru is taking the opportunity of the Dairy Event to renew its plea to dairy farmers in Wales to vaccinate their cattle against the Bluetongue Virus.
calendar icon 22 October 2008
clock icon 2 minute read

Dai Davies, a dairy farmer from St Clears and President of NFU Cymru, said, “I urge my fellow dairy farmers across Wales to take seriously the threat of BTv8. Please remember the vector free period was not announced until 21 December last year and the current prolonged mild Autumn conditions are perfect for the spread of disease through infected midges.

“Dairy cattle are now being housed for the Winter and unfortunately housed conditions favour midge activity. Midges are more likely to stay closer to cattle concentrations and they particularly favour higher humidity, lower wind speed and warmer temperatures.

“Bluetongue virus has already had a devastating economic effect on livestock production in a number of countries in mainland Europe. The number of new cases of BTv8 identified in France is currently over 19,000. The only real defence available to farmers in Wales is vaccination.”

Mr Davies also gave a stark warning about the rising number of BTv strain 1 cases in France, rising to almost 3,000 last week.

He said, “NFU Cymru has proposed a voluntary ban on all imports of Bluetongue susceptible animals from areas where the virus is currently circulating. Remember we currently don’t have a vaccination strategy against strain One. Whilst farmers can protect their stock from BTv8 by vaccination the only way we can currently protect our livestock against BTv1, and our industry as a whole, is by not importing stock from areas where the disease is rife.”

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