SAC's Veterinary Services has timely advice for anyone from England planning to buy Scottish cattle and sheep in the coming weeks, when thousands of stock will be sold at markets across the country.
Scotland is a Blue Tongue free area as no cattle or sheep have been vaccinated against the disease. However farmers south of the border have been encouraged to vaccinate their animals so the whole of England & Wales is now designated a Blue Tongue Protection Zone. There is a risk of confusion about the rules governing trade between the different areas.
According to Brian Hosie, SAC Veterinary Services Group Manager, while vaccinated stock cannot move into Scotland, there is no reason why buyers from England should be concerned about bidding for Scottish cattle or sheep.
" Anyone buying stock from Blue Tongue free areas can have confidence in their replacement stock. The animals will have come from a clean, non blue Tongue infected source , so they will not be introducing the infection to their holding."
Customers from Protected Zones are reminded they can buy vaccine and should vaccinate any purchased stock as soon as possible after getting them home. Sheep will become fully immune to infection three weeks after treatment while cattle will be fully safe three weeks after their second dose of vaccine.
"We can see the devastation Blue Tongue has caused on the continent this year" says Brian Hosie " It is important farmers follow the rules. Blue Tongue virus is likely to spread much more rapidly through movements of infected livestock than the movement of midges,"
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