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TheBeefSite Bluetongue Disease News

Scottish Livestock Producers Unite to Protect Industry

02 February 2009

UK - NFU Scotland is today praising Scottish livestock producers for their joint efforts to keep the country free of Bluetongue disease.

In October 2008 Scotland’s cattle and sheep industry bodies, NFU Scotland, NSA, NBA and SBCA called for keepers of susceptible animals to protect the industry by not importing animals from Europe.

Figures show that since the industry was called upon to protect itself, no direct imports of susceptible livestock have come into Scotland from continental Europe.

Meanwhile, Bluetongue disease is rife throughout Europe with several strains present and infected zones changing almost daily.

Scotland entered into a compulsory vaccination programme against the BTV8 strain of the virus but the most effective method of remaining free of the disease and avoiding the risk of introduction of other strains is to avoid imports.

Penny Johnston, NFU Scotland Livestock Policy Manager, said:

"Scottish producers are fiercely passionate about their industry and its future, and this passion and belief has been clearly shown by the reaction of Scotland’s cattle, sheep and milk producers to the threat of Bluetongue.

"Under European regulation it would be illegal for the Scottish Government to ban imports from countries elsewhere in Europe. Therefore, the power to protect the livestock industry lies with producers. NFU Scotland is proud to say that Scottish producers have taken on this role and are standing firmly together to protect their livestock.

"Since the call was made, no direct imports of susceptible livestock have come into Scotland from continental Europe, with the exception of some reindeer during December – Santa obviously did not get the memo!

"We at NFUS believe that this is something Scotland should be rightly proud of. It sends out a clear message that Scotland’s farmers value their industry and will place the industry’s future above the opportunity to buy cheap imports for short-term individual gain.

"Well done and keep up the good work."

TheCattleSite News Desk


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