Do Not Import Bluetongue

UK - Government and other industry organisations are urging the cattle and sheep industries of Northern Ireland to seriously consider the risks in importing livestock from outside the island of Ireland, particularly from Blue Tongue (BT) Restricted Areas.
calendar icon 15 September 2008
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According to a Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) bulletin, there have been four incidents of BT in GB this year, all of which have involved importations of livestock from Restricted Zones in Europe.

The greatest risk of Northern Ireland getting this disease is through importation of infected animals. The first GB incident involved cattle from Germany into Devon, the second and third incidents involved the importation of sheep from France to two locations in the south of England, and the current incident involves 18 cattle imported from Germany into County Durham in the north of England.

This latest case has come too close to Northern Ireland for comfort because the significance is that, although the whole of England & Wales became a Protection Zone on 1 September, it may take up to 6 to 8 weeks for livestock keepers in the North of England to have sufficient opportunity to vaccinate their livestock and for the stock to acquire immunity (according to a DEFRA statement).

There is now the increased risk of clean midges becoming infected from the recent infected imports into the north of England in what is a period of high level midge activity. The risk of the disease spreading to unvaccinated stock in the north of England is thus much increased. All sectors of the NI industry should act responsibly to avoid jeopardising their own stock, their neighbour’s stock and the livestock industry by not importing stock from or transporting them through high risk areas. Details of live animal imports into Northern Ireland for this year to the end of August are shown in the table on the back page.

Older Cattle Disposal Scheme

The conversion rate applied to payments for cattle entering the Older Cattle Disposal Scheme in September 2008 is 292 euro at 80.5p (£235.06 per head). The effect of the falling value of sterling against the euro resulted in a £4.69 per head increase in the compensation rate compared with the August payment. From 1 August 1999 to 2 May 2006, exports of deboned fresh beef and beef products from cattle born after 1 August 1996 were permitted under the Date Based Export Scheme (DBES).There appears to be some confusion regarding the effect of cow slaughter date influencing export eligibility of her calf.

A requirement of the now defunct DBES was that, to be export eligible, a beef animal must have had a dam that survived for at least six months after birth notification. This scheme has ended. There is no specific requirement for the dam of a beef calf to survive for a period of six months. The only requirement for a beef animal to be export eligible is that a valid dam is registered at the time of the calf's birth notification to DARD.

As of the 8th September 2008 almost 24,000 cattle born before the 1st August 1996 and eligible for OCDS are still recorded on APHIS. The scheme ends on 31 December 2008. From 1 January 2009 any cattle born before August 1996 will have to be disposed of as fallen stock at the producer's expense. These cattle cannot enter the food chain.

Cattle Eligible for OCDS (Source APHIS)
Beef or Dairy
Total Animals
Percentage of Total
Beef (Male)
Beef (Female)
Dairy (Female)

Further Reading

- You can view the full report by clicking here.

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