NFU Scotland believes that Scottish livestock producers have a window of opportunity in which to minimise trade disruption with the North of England this autumn.
This follows the confirmation that the English Bluetongue Protection Zone will be extended into Northumberland and Cumbria shortly. According to Defra, this will not happen before Monday, 1st September unless there is a change in the current disease situation.
NFU Scotland Vice-president Nigel Miller said:
“Our preferred option would have been for the key trading counties of Cumbria and Northumberland to have remained areas deemed free of Bluetongue, allowing the traditional trade that takes place between Scotland and the North of England to carry on this autumn without disruption. We felt that based on the current disease situation and the economic implications there was a case to suspend vaccination in these northern areas and for vaccination to take place in the winter in keeping with Scotland’s plans.
“However, Defra has stated its intention to continue with its vaccination plan and we welcome the fact that early notification has been provided. The advance warning to livestock keepers in those areas into which the Protection Zone will be extended will allow them to plan ahead.
“For those Scottish finishers who have traditionally bought calves at autumn sales in the North of England, there is an opportunity to source these animals privately from the usual consignors. Similarly, those who normally move stock north of the Border to key sales such as those seen at Perth and Kelso, then they have the chance to make the necessary arrangements so that these animals can still be presented. Auctioneers and agents will have a key role in co-ordinating the deals that may need to be done in the next ten days.
“It is important to bear in mind that properly vaccinated stock will be able to move into a free area like Scotland over time. A veterinary certificate confirming vaccination should accompany these animals. They can leave the vaccination area after 35 days from full vaccination if they are tested for Bluetongue. Untested animals cannot be moved for 60 days following completion of full vaccination. A Post-Movement Notification Document (PMND) and a copy of the veterinary certificate of vaccination must also be sent to the Scottish Government within three days of the vaccinated animals arriving here.
“The time involved in properly vaccinating and certifying animals will run to months rather than days so this short window when free movement between free areas in Scotland and England can continue to take place will be all important.”
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