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Bluetongue Disease

Volume 470: debated on Wednesday 23 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assistance and measures are in place for farmers who fall outside the immediate surveillance zone in detecting and preventing the spread of the bluetongue disease. (177653)

The Government are working closely with a core group of industry stakeholders to decide on actions necessary to combat bluetongue disease across the country. To this end, a policy statement (with supporting rationale) and an economic assessment have been agreed. These set out the strategy and priorities for the winter period. The UK remains committed to a disease control approach which aims to contain the disease within the current restricted zones.

Comprehensive information is available to farmers on the DEFRA website, via our telephone Helpline and through local Animal Health offices. We have published information on detecting and preventing the spread of bluetongue disease, including how to spot the clinical signs, midge mitigating measures, and what to do if farmers suspect signs of disease. This is also available on the DEFRA website.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs why the decision was taken to source and supply the anti-bluetongue virus vaccine from one supplier. (177713)

Following a full assessment of the three bids submitted to supply bluetongue vaccine, which included input from veterinary experts and the farming industry, we chose Intervet as the preferred bidder on the basis of technical specification, delivery timetable and price. Intervet has been developing a bluetongue serotype 8 (BTV-8) vaccine for over a year, has an established track record in producing vaccines for other diseases, and supplies vaccine for DEFRA’s avian influenza vaccine bank. Livestock keepers will be offered the opportunity to purchase vaccine from the bank and I am confident that the Intervet vaccine will offer them the best value and most effective option.