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Farron urges farmers to continue vaccinating against risk of bluetongue

May 11, 2010 12:00 AM

Liberal Democrat Farming Spokesperson Tim Farron MP has urged South Lakeland farmers to continue vaccinating their sheep and cattle against bluetongue after the NFU warned that the actions of some livestock farmers could place the country at risk from further outbreaks of the disease.

The NFU issued the warning following evidence of a big increase in the numbers of livestock being imported into Britain from parts of Europe where bluetongue has been rife and of a drop off in bluetongue vaccination rates across the country.

Mr Farron has urged farmers considering importing stock to be absolutely certain that the animals have either been correctly vaccinated and met all of the appropriate conditions of the vaccine, or have been thoroughly tested to ensure they are not carrying the virus.

Commenting Mr Farron said:

"With the increased temperatures of summer just around the corner, there is a very real danger that we will start to see the disease spread into areas further north and west where there is a far more limited uptake of the bluetongue vaccine.

"We've been extremely fortunate in managing to avoid any major bluetongue outbreak, but any farmers who aren't vaccinating their livestock on the back of this success are running the risk of spreading the disease.

"It's also important that farmers importing livestock from abroad are extra vigilant in ensuring that their animals have been properly vaccinated. The farming community cannot afford to pay the price of a few people taking risks with the health of their livestock."