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.
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
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
"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."
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