Calls for Compulsory Bluetongue Tests

SCOTLAND - NFU Scotland, together with the National Sheep Association's Scottish region and the Scottish Beef Cattle Association, have written to the Scottish Government calling for compulsory testing of susceptible animals arriving in Scotland from the bluetongue (BT) zones in England.
calendar icon 11 January 2008
clock icon 2 minute read

Whilst a post-movement test is a requirement for any animals imported into Scotland from BT zones on the Continent, no such requirement exists for animals coming in to Scotland from BT zones within the UK.

With the vector-free period having opened on 20 December 2007, movements of animals from the English BT zone to disease-free areas such as Scotland can now occur, subject to certain requirements. One of the requirements is a pre-movement test, the quickest of which can be done 14 days after the start of the vector-free period. With a turnaround at laboratories of around 4 days, it means in practice that such imports could have started coming into Scotland this week, hence the urgency of the call for greater testing.

NFUS Vice President Nigel Miller said:

“We have seen three instances in recent weeks - in Middlesborough, Worcester and Kirkcudbright - where imported cattle have only be found to have bluetongue because of a post-movement test. At least cattle imported from Europe require a post-movement test. At the moment, the same rules are not being applied to animals coming out of the English zone, and in my view that presents too high a risk.

“Our advice to farmers remains clear - do not source cattle from BT zones. However, if there are those who wish to ignore that advice, we need a stronger safety net to prevent them exposing the whole industry to this threat.

“It is important to remember that 'vector-free' does not mean there is no risk of disease getting into our midge population; it is just a lower risk at this time of year. A post-movement test, whilst still not providing the protection of a movement ban, could provide a crucial additional safeguard.”

Further Reading

       - You can visit our Bluetongue information page by clicking here.

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