This is an important step to ensure that bluetongue does not return to GB.
The European Commission has announced that Great Britain’s bluetongue status will be reclassified from a BTV8 protection zone to a Lower Risk Zone (LRZ) for BTV8 with effect from 12 June. This new classification means that all susceptible animals being brought in from other countries affected by BTV8 will have to meet more stringent vaccination conditions before importation.
The move is welcomed by Jim Paice, Minister of State for Agriculture and Food who said:
“This is a great result that speaks volumes for the work done by farmers and vets, who’ve worked with the Government to achieve this Lower Risk Zone status for bluetongue. It will help protect our livestock producers but they must remain vigilant and anyone importing stock must make sure that they meet the new requirements for importation.”
The move is further supported by the Chief Veterinary Officer, Nigel Gibbens who said:
“We have remained in a bluetongue Protection Zone since the first case was confirmed and the efforts of responsible livestock owners and vets in vaccinating stock and the surveillance work by Animal Health, the Veterinary Laboratories Agency, and the Institute for Animal Health has allowed us to successfully apply for this revised status.
“But we cannot become complacent, and I’d encourage farmers and vets to continue to vaccinate their livestock and remain vigilant for disease while additional targeted surveillance continues in the higher risk areas.”
Advice and guidance about bluetongue can be found at archive.defra.gov.uk/foodfarm/farmanimal/diseases/atoz/bluetongue/.