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Industry Bluetongue Views Vary Hugely

26 October 2007

UK - Should the whole of England be turned into a single bluetongue zone? That was the question dividing the livestock industry following last week’s confirmation of the disease in Peterborough which led to a dramatic extension of the Bluetongue Protection zone.
Frank Langrish, one of the country’s best-known sheep farmers, became the first farmer in Sussex to be confirmed with the disease last week. He believes the virus may have been in his sheep since August.

Until last week, Mr Langrish, who farms 12,000 sheep near Rye and is chairman of the British Wool Marketing Board, had been in the Protection Zone. He is now in a Control Zone. He has been calling from the start of the outbreak for the country to be turned into a single CZ.

“Extending the CZ to the whole of the country would keep me in business. If it is not extended, we are all finished in the CZ,” he said.

“I can hardly sell any lamb and I’m taking a pittance for anything I can sell, about £20 for good lambs, because of the foot-and-mouth restrictions in place as well.

“Most of my winter grazing is in Somerset, Dorset and Wiltshire but I can’t get to that now I am in the CZ. I have got nothing on tack. I have got 1,000s of sheep I can’t move that are just getting thinner and thinner and any minute now I’ll have to start killing them.

“There is no logic in trying to hold the line. It is obvious now that cases are multiplying and Defra is not putting any resources into it.

“I have spoken to people in Holland and Belgium about it. They all said it’s just a waste of time trying to control it. You just accept you have got it and if we are confident we are going to have a vaccine by next summer, we can live with it until then.

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Source: Farmers Guardian


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