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Bluetongue Row Erupts in Scotland

02 May 2008

UK - As the Bluetongue vaccination begins in England, so confusion erupts in Scotland over their preparation plans.

Bluetongue, a viral disease spread by midges, until recently was confined to southern Europe. There is no threat to humans, but the damage to cattle, in deaths and loss of productivity can be high, reports the Scotsman.

Scotland has avoided bluetongue. The Scottish Government has ordered a substantial quantity of vaccine, which will only be used in late autumn in accordance with veterinary advice.

Earlier this week the Scottish region of the National Beef Association (NBA) argued that Scotland should adopt a pre-emptive approach and start vaccination in early summer.

But John Cameron, president of the Scottish Beef Cattle Association (SBCA), which broke away from the NBA over two years ago, said: "It is disappointing that after the Scottish cattle industry reached a unanimous strategy position on bluetongue that there is some thinking – clearly driven by sources south of the Border – that Scotland should seek a voluntary derogation on vaccination while we remain in a 'BT-free zone'.

"If only a few herds in Scotland were vaccinated, that could subsequently result in a major outbreak of BT caused by cattle from Europe whose history might be regarded as doubtful."

  • View the Scotsman story by clicking here.


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