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Stackyard News Oct 07

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D-Day for the Industry in the Fight Against Bluetongue Virus

The Pedigree Beef Society Group and partner organisations are backing the National Beef Association’s call for the urgent adoption, by Defra, of a UK-wide vaccination programme against BTV8.

beef calf

The Pedigree Beef Society’s Group, the Livestock Auctioneers Association, and the British Camelids Association have also asked the Chief Vets of England, Scotland and Wales, to allow the movement of pre-tested pedigree stock from a protection zone to a free zone, to extend the protection zone to cover the whole of Great Britain, and to make sure that the use of an inactivated, or “dead”, BTV vaccine does not result in trade barriers being erected against vaccinated stock.

“There are now at least four organisations publicly calling on the Chief Vets to immediately initiate the development of an inactivated BTV8 vaccine for all five BT susceptible species and the speedy placement of an order with vaccine manufacturers,” explained NBA director, Kim Haywood.

“They want to see a compulsory vaccination programme for GB and full government backing for a European Community vaccination policy that covers all Member States.”

The alliance of pro-vaccination organisations is also keen to see the establishment of animal testing protocols that will free the movement of all breeding stock with superior genetic merit.

“Under current rules huge numbers of important pedigree animals are unable to follow established seasonal sales routes within the United Kingdom,” said John Fleming chairman of the Pedigree Beef Society Group.

“However the European Commission has already agreed protocols that allow stock that has blood tested negative against BT to be moved from within a Protection Zone to a Free Zone as long as the same animals is also post-movement tested on arrival on the new farm.”

“It is important that these superior animals are moved onto the farms that need them. They have the value to cover the cost of blood testing before departure, and then after arrival on the purchaser’s holding, and all that is needed to set these much needed movements in train is confirmation by the UK’s governments of the adoption of existing EU protocols.”

The Pedigree Beef Society Group with NBA and other organisations in the group also believe the extension of the current Protection Zone over the whole of GB should not be unnecessarily delayed.

“Science backs the proposition that vaccination is the only protection the farmers has against a disease that will inevitably impose huge cost in both mortality, and performance reduction, terms,” said Ms Haywood.

“The Food Standards Agency, and the European Commission, has confirmed that BT poses no threat to human beings and cannot be passed on through milk or meat.”

“Nevertheless the livestock industry feels the need for a government reassurance that the use of an inactivated BT vaccine will not result in some companies erecting trade barriers against vaccinated animals because they may gain a commercial advantage at the farmer’s expense.”

link Welsh Livestock Farmers Feel Effect of Bluetongue Restrictions
link Bluetongue Vaccination Programme Imperative
link Bluetongue Controls Must Not Do More Harm Than Good


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