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Battle Plan to Beat Bluetongue

16 September 2008

UK - The Scottish Government's strategy to stop bluetongue disease spreading north of the Border will become clear later today, after a meeting in Edinburgh of industry stakeholders.

It is generally accepted that a compulsory vaccination programme will be initiated but not until the commencement of the vector-free period. The disease, which causes many deaths in sheep and a loss of productivity in cattle, is spread by midges, so vaccination is unlikely before November

In the meantime, the Scottish Beef Cattle Association (SBCA) is keen to see restrictions imposed on farmers who import livestock from areas in England and mainland Europe where bluetongue is prevalent.

Last week, a Scottish farmer caused a furore when it was discovered he had purchased cattle in France and intended to bring them to Scotland. He would have not been breaking the law, but he eventually decided to leave his purchases in England for the time being.

John Bell, the technical directors of the SBCA, said: "It's not bluetongue that is our worst enemy – it's greedy farmers trying to save a few shillings by importing cheap livestock from European hot spots, not only putting their own stock at risk, but that of the whole British livestock industry.

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Source: Scotsman


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