Bluetongue protection zone extended

Defra announced yesterday that the Protection Zone will be extended at midday on Friday, 27 June, following the latest delivery of two million doses of bluetongue vaccine.

Vaccination is only permitted within the Protection Zone. In accordance with the bluetongue vaccination plan, the Protection Zone will therefore be extended to cover Cornwall (including the Isles of Scilly) in order to allow further vaccination. The Welsh Assembly will also declare the current Restricted Zone in south-east Wales a Protection Zone.

Chief veterinary officer, Nigel Gibbens, said: "This is welcome news for the farming industry. This is a new vaccine being delivered to a tight timescale. Delivery of large volumes of vaccine at the earliest possible time is challenging, but we continue to work closely with Intervet and the industry to ensure that the vaccination roll-out is communicated as quickly as possible, as vaccine is delivered.

"The roll-out and delivery remain on schedule and we have so far received over 11m doses of vaccine. Initial indications suggest that take-up of vaccine is high. However, as we move into summer, the likelihood of disease re-emergence increases and so I urge the industry to remain vigilant. The message to livestock keepers is clear: don't hesitate, vaccinate."

Livestock keepers in the areas coming into the Protection Zone will be able to obtain the vaccine from the time they become part of the Zone, but they are encouraged to order vaccine in advance through their vet.

Protection Zone restrictions will apply to those keepers coming into the extended zone. Animals can only be moved out of the Protection Zone if they are vaccinated, naturally immune or moving for slaughter, subject to meeting certain conditions. Animals will also be able to be moved between the Protection Zones in Wales and England, subject to the conditions on the transit licence.

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