Vigilance Plea after Bluetongue Hits Wales

UK - The Farmers’ Union of Wales has called on farmers to be extra vigilant following the establishment of a bluetongue restricted zone in South East Wales.
calendar icon 15 February 2008
clock icon 2 minute read

"This news comes as a terrible blow to Wales and particularly for farmers in the affected area. "
FUW president Gareth Vaughan

Farmers in the region are now within a restricted bluetongue zone following a confirmed case of the disease near Poole, Dorset. Under EU rules a restricted area must include land within 150km of a confirmed case and animals cannot be moved out of the zone except under certain conditions.

The restricted zone includes all or parts of: Monmouthshire, Torfaen, Caerphilly, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Vale of Glamorgan, Bridgend, Neath Port Talbot, Cardiff, Blaenau Gwent and Merthyr Tydfil.

A small area of Powys is also within the zone. (See further details below) FUW president Gareth Vaughan said: "This news comes as a terrible blow to Wales and particularly for farmers in the affected area.

For farmers on the border of the new restricted zone the problems will be particularly acute. "We have been in numerous meetings with Welsh Assembly officials during the past few days when a range of options for Wales have been considered and yesterday we discussed the implications of the confirmation of the Poole case with Defra minister Hilary Benn.

"The union will on Friday be holding an emergency meeting of its county and policy committee chairmen, senior officials and staff in order to discuss this grave development and the options open to us in Wales.

"However, the situation is very fluid and can change within hours. We know that the disease will arrive in Wales in the near future but our priority must be to keep it out for as long as possible while vaccine is being produced.

"The impact of the disease can be devastating causing significant fatalities and a massive drop in milk production and livestock reproduction. "Farmers throughout Wales must carefully consider the implications of moving animals that might be infected into their locality - once the genie is out of the bottle it cannot be put back."

The UK is currently in a "vector-free period", meaning that animals can only move from the restricted zone into a disease free area if they have had a negative pre-movement test.

"But farmers should be aware that this period could come to an end at any time, although it is hoped it will continue until mid-March," added Mr Vaughan. Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, Dr Christianne Glossop has urged the farming industry to comply with the movement restrictions announced today. Farmers wanting exact details of the extent of the new Welsh restricted zone should contact their Welsh Assembly Government Divisional Offices.

Further Reading

- Find out more information on Bluetongue by clicking here.

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