UFU Warns Against Complacency in over Bluetongue

UK - The Ulster Farmers’ Union is warning farmers against complacency in the fight against Bluetongue disease.
calendar icon 20 May 2010
clock icon 2 minute read

The UFU is aware that as many as eleven separate consignments of cattle have very recently been imported from Holland and Germany to farms in Coleraine, Ballymena, Omagh and Newry.

Encouragingly there have been no imports of cattle in 2010 until now but these recent imports pose a very serious threat to Northern Ireland’s Bluetongue free status at a time when midge activity is on the increase.

UFU President John Thompson said, “Animals imported from continental Europe pose the greatest risk of carrying the disease and therefore it is important that farmers are mindful of this. There are a number of different disease serotypes circulating in the EU so the threat to our bluetongue free status remains significant.

"The recent rise in temperatures and subsequent increased midge activity will only exacerbate the disease risk and it is extremely disappointing that a small number of farmers have chosen to import cattle at this time.

"To date the industry has been successful at maintaining our Bluetongue free status and this has been down to the actions of responsible farmers and the prudent action by DARD’s veterinary inspectors at the ports.

"However, those who have chosen to import animals last week should be reminded that such activity poses a grave risk to our industry with serious cost implications which DARD estimates to be £25 million annually.

"I would like to take this opportunity to highlight again that any imported animal that tests positive post import for bluetongue virus can be slaughtered with no compensation payable.”

Mr Thompson added; “This is not a time for complacency. Every single member of the industry has a duty to play their role in keeping the disease out and this must start with a collective effort to not import animals. The UFU understand the difficulties with this policy and will continue to monitor the Bluetongue situation and establish our position on the basis of the latest veterinary risk assessment.”

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