Bluetongue restrictions lifted

Published on Monday, 13 June 2011 12:50
Posted by Scott Buckler

Restrictions on exporting sheep and cattle from Great Britain in place because of bluetongue disease will be lifted, Agriculture Minister Jim Paice announced today (June 13th)

The restrictions were imposed in 2007, following the first cases of bluetongue in Great Britain.

Mr Paice said:

This is great news for farmers – and it’s an achievement by farmers too. This is the result of a strong and successful partnership between government, farmers and vets to eradicate this serious disease.

“Our new Animal Health and Welfare Board for England is building on this partnership approach to create a better way to tackle animal diseases.  There have been no new cases of bluetongue in Britain for two years, but farmers and vets need to remain vigilant and continue to be careful of animals they import.”

Bluetongue-free status will mean that animals exported from Great Britain to bluetongue free countries, mainly the Republic of Ireland, won’t require vaccination, or meet any other bluetongue requirements.

The disease is not currently found in Britain’s neighbouring countries, and animals entering Great Britain from bluetongue zones will continue to meet stringent import conditions.  We will maintain testing of imported animals from high risk countries.

Once Great Britain is declared bluetongue free, livestock keepers will no longer be able to vaccinate under EU law.  The Government are pressing for changes to be made at European level to allow farmers to use vaccination even when bluetongue zones aren’t in place.

Bluetongue Free status will take effect from  5 July 2011, so any farmers wishing to vaccinate should do so before this date.

 

Source: DEFRA

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