UK farmers urged to contact vets as Bluetongue outbreaks continue in France

As yet more Bluetongue outbreaks are confirmed in France, the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) in the UK has urged farmers to talk to their vets as the industry braces itself for a return of Bluetongue disease.

Four more outbreaks have been confirmed in France, with a further five cases confirmed and 521 cattle susceptible to the disease.

In response, the NFU is urging farmers to talk to their vets as there is currently no vaccine available for UK farmers.

The UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has confirmed there is an 80% risk of it reaching the UK by September this year.

The NFU has confirmed that it is working with DEFRA and industry to secure vaccine stocks.

NFU livestock board chairman Charles Sercombe said that there is quite strong evidence that Bluetongue could move to southern parts of the UK by late summer, not dissimilar to the way it moved into East Anglia back in 2007.

“As livestock farmers we should be talking to our vets now about the disease and considering our business options including vaccination which would be a voluntary, protective measure.

“It’s also imperative that we all remain vigilant and look out for any signs of Bluetongue and report any suspicions to our vets immediately.

“The health and welfare of the herd or flock should remain a top priority,” he said.

Bluetongue has been a constant in France since last summer and the disease, caused by midges, continues to affect the country.