ARCHIVE: Bluetongue: Latest situation
Restrictions on exporting sheep and cattle from Great Britain in place because of bluetongue disease will be lifted from 5 July 2011
Mr Paice said:
“This is great news for farmers – and it’s an achievement by farmers, too. This is the result of a strong and successful partnership between government, farmers and vets to eradicate this serious disease.”
The last case of bluetongue in Great Britain was in 2008 and through our surveillance we have been able to demonstrate to the European Commission that we have had no cases for the last two years and can officially be declared free of BTV8.
Bluetongue-free status will mean that animals exported from Great Britain to other bluetongue free countries, won’t require vaccination or need to meet any other bluetongue requirements.
Animals entering Great Britain from bluetongue zones will continue to meet stringent import conditions. We will maintain testing of imported animals from high risk countries.
Once Great Britain is declared bluetongue free, livestock keepers will no longer be able to vaccinate under EU law. Should any livestock keepers wish to vaccinate their stock, they should do so before 5 July 2011 when the BTV8 zone is lifted. The Government is pressing the Commission to change this so vaccination can be used more flexibly outside of bluetongue zones.
There have been no reports of active bluetongue in Northern EU Member States, with Hungary, Denmark and Sweden having recently declared disease freedom, and other countries expecting to follow later this year.
Bluetongue - Complacency Costs!
Watch Defra’s Bluetongue video outlining why farmers can’t afford to be complacent about Bluetongue.
13 June 2011 - Bluetongue restrictions lifted
26 November 2010 – Changes to Post Import Testing requirements
11 June 2010 - New licence: General Licence for the movement of ruminant animals, semen, ovum or embryo from premises in a Bluetongue Restricted Zone to an area outside of the England Restricted Zone.
9 June 2010 - Revised licence: EXD488(BT)E - General licence to vaccinate animals against Bluetongue (BTV8) in England.
4 June 2010 - It has been agreed with the European Commission that as from 12th June Great Britain will change its status from a BTV 8 Protection Zone to a BTV 8 Lower Risk Zone (LRZ). A LRZ is an option within the bluetongue regulations which enables Member States that do not have circulating disease to allow their livestock holders to vaccinate against bluetongue. It also imposes tighter controls on animals brought into the country from ‘confluent zones’ (zones of the same BTV serotype) to help keep disease out.
The LRZ is an excellent step towards full eradication of this disease and will provide GB with additional protection from imports from other countries that are currently in the same BTV zone as us. We are monitoring the bluetongue situation in the rest of the EU, particularly to be aware of the risk of new incursions from wind-borne infected midges. In the meantime we must not be complacent and we continue to encourage livestock holders to remain vigilant for disease and to continue vaccinating their livestock.
The new zone will mean a change to the requirements for livestock movements into GB. See the movement and guidance page for more information.
Jim Paice the Minister of State for Agriculture and Food has responded:
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 take the pressure off livestock producers but they must remain vigilant and anyone importing stock must realise that they are responsible for ensuring they are not importing disease.
The Chief Veterinary Officer has responded:
‘The news from the Standing Committee for the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCoFCAH) that Great Britain has achieved Lower Risk Zone status is testament to the excellent cooperation between industry and government demonstrated from the earliest days of 2007’s bluetongue outbreak. 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.’
- Latest situation on vaccination.
- Check if you are affected - See movement guidance and licences
- 2008 confirmed cases
- Animal Health's disease alerts service - Register to be kept up-to-date on the animal disease situation.
- Farming industry bluetongue vaccination campaign (links to NFU online website).
- The Bluetongue Order 2007.
For the latest situation in Europe, please visit the following links:
- Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCoFCAH).
- Map of the existing restriction zones of the countries affected by Bluetongue
- Bluetongue in Europe
Page last modified: 13 June 2011