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Cattle Industry urged to be vigilant in keeping Bluetongue out
29/03/07

The National Beef Association is pressing the cattle industry to make a special effort to stop Bluetongue Virus (BTV) entering the UK - especially through imported cattle.

photo courtesy www.fao.org

bluetongue

As summer approaches the UK faces the risk of a BTV outbreak and Defra underlined the need for precautions in February when it confirmed it is illegal to import cattle if they originate from, or have traveled through, a restricted BTV zone.

At present BTV restricted areas include all of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg as well as parts of Western Germany and Northern France.

In these restriction zones there are rules which cover the movement of all ruminants, the export of animals from these zones is prohibited, and all animals on premises within as zone have to be identified and tested for Bluetongue.

“The rules established to protect the UK are straightforward. The import of any ruminant originating from a restricted area is prohibited and at present those that have transited or crossed a restricted area are not allowed in either,” stressed NBA policy advisor, Kim Haywood.

“Furthermore important departure points like Dunkirk and Calais are within the restricted zones established in France and susceptible animals moving through these ports must not enter the UK.”

“A breech of these strict rules will incur a penalty of £5,000, or a three month prison term, and could result in the slaughter of the imported cattle. The NBA is very keen that all importers are aware of this and then take appropriate precautions.”

Similar strict rules also apply to empty lorries entering the UK. These must fall in with transport regulations which state that livestock wagons traveling into the country must be thoroughly cleansed so any manure that could be hiding infected midges is removed.

“We want to be sure that all precautions to protect the UK are taken. The NBA is aware of three recent instances where cattle that have traveled through BTV restricted zones have entered the UK,” said Ms Haywood.

“Surveillance at ports has increased as a result of these breaches and the animals are being tested.”

“It must be underlined that these illegal loads have put the rest of the UK cattle herd at risk and further breaches cannot be tolerated.”

link UK Cattle Industry Beware the Blue Tongue threat
link Bluetongue virus in the Netherlands identified as serotype 8 by IAH
link Bluetongue prevention measures stepped up
link Bluetongue disease confirmed in Belgium and Germany

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