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Window Opening for Scottish Vaccination

10 October 2008

SCOTLAND, UK - The window for compulsory bluetongue vaccination in Scotland will open on Monday November 3, 2008, the Scottish Government confirmed today.

On this date Scotland will be declared a Protection Zone and free movement of bluetongue-susceptible animals across Great Britain will be permitted.

The date has been set following scientific analysis which established that risk of transmission by midges would be low at this point and that livestock need to be protected by the spring when midges will become active again.

In the first year the Scottish Government is supporting half of the vaccine manufacturer costs, totalling £2.6m.

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs Richard Lochhead said:

"I am pleased that we are now able to give farmers and crofters certainty on the date on which compulsory vaccination will be start.

"Scientific analysis has allowed us to specify November 3 as the date that mitigates the risk to the Scottish livestock industry.

"At the farming industry's request we are introducing compulsory vaccination over a period of several months, allowing farmers to choose to vaccinate at a time that best suits them and their farm management needs.

"Until all livestock are vaccinated, there will remain a risk to the industry from importing potentially infected animals. It is vital farmers continue to avoid sourcing stock from high risk areas." A compulsory vaccination programme was agreed by industry stakeholders in September.

Vaccination will be compulsory in cattle and sheep and strongly encouraged in other bluetongue susceptible species.

The initial vaccination window will last until April 30, 2009.


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