New Restrictions: Bluetongue Calves in Healthy Wombs

UK - The Ulster Farmers’ Union says it supports the decision by Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew and the Northern Ireland Executive to impose new cattle and sheep import controls to protect the livestock industry from Bluetongue.
calendar icon 3 March 2008
clock icon 2 minute read

The UFU supports the new import controls, given emerging evidence of new transmission routes for Bluetongue in pregnant animals. The controls in Northern Ireland mirror controls already in place in the Republic of Ireland.

A temporary ban on the import of female cattle over 12 months of age and female sheep over six months of age from Bluetongue restricted zones is to be put in place.

UFU President Kenneth Sharkey said; “Our priority is to keep Bluetongue off the island of Ireland and maintain our Bluetongue free status. It has now emerged that maternal transmission is another possible means by which the disease can pass from animal to animal. In light of this our disease controls have been reviewed and we support this decision to impose new restrictions. We would also re-iterate our call to the agri-food industry to adopt a voluntary ban on the imports of all animals for production, breeding or slaughter, until further notice”.

The UFU says it is keeping the situation under constant review. UFU leaders discussed the situation in detail this week with the Irish Farmers’ Association.

Kenneth Sharkey said; “The emerging science about Bluetongue is being reviewed again next week in the EU Commission Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health. It is important that we continue to deal with this potentially very serious situation in a co-ordinated manner”.

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