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Bluetongue Vaccine Made Available

18 February 2008

UK - Chris Harris Senior Editor TheCattleSite reports from the NFU Conference in London. Plans have been laid out to tackle the threat of bluetongue in the UK.

The British Government is to press ahead with a full voluntary vaccination programme to counter the threat of bluetongue.

Speaking at the annual conference of the British National Farmers' Union, the Secretary of State from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Hilary Benn, said the government and the industry had to share the cost and responsibility of tackling the disease in the UK.

"Through the Bluetongue Industry Core Group, we developed a plan for dealing with the disease," he told the farming conference. "Having all seen the terrible damage bluetongue has done, we know that vaccination offers the best hope.

"So that is why we are the first country dealing with the current outbreak in Northern Europe that has placed an order for 22.5 million doses of vaccine."

Mr Benn said the government would pay up front for the vaccine and the full cost would be recovered as the vaccine is used by farmers. "I am publishing today the UK plan - developed closely with the industry - for blue tongue vaccination over the months ahead," Mr Benn said.

"It outlines how farmers will be able to purchase vaccine from the bank to help protect themselves - and their neighbours - from the disease."

Mr Benn added: "We will adopt a voluntary approach, which will allow vaccination to go ahead as quickly as possible."

Mr Benn said the British government is currently spending £400 million a year battling against animal disease, but he said the costs of other exotic animal disease coming on top of this spending would be unsustainable.

This he said was why the government will be recovering the costs from farmers and sharing the responsibility.

Further Reading

- See other news from the NFU conference in London by clicking here.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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