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Agriculture: Bluetongue

Volume 699: debated on Wednesday 20 February 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the advice contained in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs publication Bluetongue: Guidance on Protection from Vector Attack, dated 21 December 2007, will be of practical assistance to working farmers. [HL1816]

EU rules provide various options for the safe movement of animals out of bluetongue infected areas. One such option includes “protection from attack by vectors”. In order to allow affected farmers this possibility, we provided guidance in consultation with experts from the EU reference laboratory at Pirbright. However, the necessary conditions are onerous and could not be achieved under commercial farm conditions, although such facilities do exist elsewhere in the EU. We would not wish to compromise on this standard because it could increase the risk of the disease spreading to bluetongue-free areas of the UK.