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Agriculture: Bluetongue Disease

Volume 691: debated on Wednesday 2 May 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What precautions they are taking against the possible spread of bluetongue cattle disease to Britain. [HL3172]

The following precautionary measures are being taken in the effort to keep bluetongue disease out of the UK:

all imports of susceptible animals from restricted areas in European Union (EU) member states affected by bluetongue are currently banned;

all susceptible animals from continental bluetongue virus (BTV)-free EU member states or zones (not including Ireland) are post-import tested for bluetongue (imports back to May 2006 were tested, and have all tested negative);

daily meteorological surveillance is undertaken to assess the risk of wind-borne spread of vectors from countries affected by the BTV8 strain to the UK;

in partnership with the farming industry, we are encouraging vigilance and early reporting of disease among farmers and veterinary practitioners (bluetongue is a notifiable disease and suspicion of disease must be reported); and

Defra is raising awareness of the disease through dissemination of information leaflets to farmers and vets, through adverts in appropriate publications, and publicity campaigns at livestock markets et cetera.