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Bluetongue Disease: Disease Control

Volume 475: debated on Wednesday 7 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what procedures are used to ensure that imported exotic livestock which are susceptible to or may be infected with bluetongue disease are kept in an insect-free environment for the duration of their quarantine. (203079)

The UK fully implements EU legislation with respect to imports of exotic ruminant animals from outside the EU. These rules take into account the full range of disease risks and are consequently very restrictive. In practice, such imports rarely occur so the question of quarantine does not arise.

Movements of exotic ruminants within the EU are subject to the same rules as those for farm livestock. There are a number of options based on combinations of protection from insect vector attack, blood testing and vaccination, all of which are carried out before departure and certified by the official veterinary services of the exporting country. These rules are kept under constant review in the light of experience and emerging science.

Once animals have arrived in the UK, they are restricted to the premises of destination and tested for bluetongue within two days of arrival. In exotic species, testing is carried out on the basis of a risk assessment.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with manufacturers of Bt8 vaccine other than Intervet on supplying the UK market. (203080)

Since the Government decided to place an order with Intervet for 22.5 million doses of BTV-8 vaccine following a tender issued last year, DEFRA officials have met representatives from Merial and Fort Dodge to give them feedback on the tender process.

We are considering with the farming industry how best to secure future supplies of vaccine and will keep our options under review in the coming weeks.