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NBA Encouraged by Scottish Bluetongue Plan
10/03/08

The National Beef Association is pleased that vaccine against bluetongue virus 8 (BTV8) is being ordered immediately by the Scottish Government and should be available to protect livestock from infection if it moves into Scotland this summer.

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galloway cattle

And the Association, which was the first farmers' organisation in Scotland to press for protection against BTV8 in 2008, is also comforted by the Scottish Government's plan to organise a national vaccination programme this winter so that a protective screen is thrown around all livestock before more severe bluetongue spread anticipated from spring 2009 takes place.

"Livestock farmers who were worried they would not have any defense against a first bluetongue invasion later this year can be reassured now that vaccine should be ordered and be available for a national protection programme this summer if it is needed," said NBA Scotland chairman, Iain Mathers.

"And the Association also backs moves to set up a centrally organised winter vaccination programme that will complete Scotland's safeguards against a disease that has the potential to inflict severe economic damage on the cattle and sheep sectors if it is not checked."

Now that its first goal of BTV8 vaccine being available in Scotland this summer has been achieved the NBA will be focusing its attention on the management of the vaccination programmes.

"The best method will be the one that delivers the best protection for animals at least cost to government and industry," said Mr Mathers.

"If BTV8 enters Scotland this summer it will trigger a risk and priority based protection strategy that installs the most cover in the relatively short time span available."

"However the winter programme will be much more thorough and its effectiveness could focus on vaccination being undertaken by individual farmers, who will be keen to make sure their stock are protected, but monitored by vets to make sure there are no gaps in the cover."

"The NBA expects that the details of these strategies will be developed within new industry/government cost sharing guidelines and the Association will work with government and other industry stakeholders to find the most efficient and effective way of delivering both short term and long term protection to Scotland's livestock industry against the BTV8 scourge."

link Union Outlines Bluetongue Vaccination Views
link Livestock Farmers Urged to Understand Bluetongue Threat
link Scary Blue Tongue Outlook for Welsh Sheep Farmers

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