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"Don't let blue tongue vaccination wreck this year's livestock sales!" - Farron tells minister on Coniston visit

May 13, 2008 3:00 PM

Liberal Democrat MP and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Hill Farming Tim Farron has warned farming minister Lord Rooker that unless it is administered intelligently, urgently and swiftly, the blue tongue vaccination programme could potentially devastate the incomes of farmers.

If the vaccination programme is not rolled out swiftly, then farmers in Cumbria and other northern counties could face similar restrictions on animal movements as those that took place during the foot and mouth crises in 2007. Tim's warning comes amid fears that those farmers whose animals receive the vaccine last will not be able to transport their livestock to sale if they have been vaccinated less than 3 weeks beforehand. If the vaccination programme is not completed by the middle of July, there is the real prospect that - as with last year - farmers in Cumbria would not be able to move their animals to sale, which would cause untold hardship.

Mr Farron met with Farming Minister Lord Rooker at High Arnside Farm, Coniston this weekend.

Tim Farron MP said:

"Farmers in Cumbria have suffered terribly due to movement restrictions last year, and the Government must not let that happen again. The Government must take this matter seriously and act with intelligent urgency.

"Vaccination must begin soon and be completed quickly, so that farmers are able to get their livestock to market. Anything less than this would be a calamity, leading to many farmers - especially those on marginal incomes in the uplands - leaving the industry for good."