Wales declared Bluetongue Protection Zone

The Welsh Assembly Government has announced its intention to declare the whole of Wales a bluetongue Protection Zone.

The Welsh Assembly Government has announced its intention to declare the whole of Wales a bluetongue Protection Zone, as opposed to introducing a gradual roll-out of the Zone by county.

The decision, which will be subject to the availability of bluetongue vaccine and no new outbreak of disease, should come into effect around the end of August or beginning of September. This approach will enable vaccination to take place across the whole of Wales within a matter of weeks.

Yesterday (5 August), Wales' chief veterinary officer Dr Christianne Glossop said: "The precise timing for the Protection Zone declaration is dependent upon when vaccine batches are available.

"This decision highlights the need for a concerted effort from the livestock industry to reignite their interest in vaccination; the need to minimise the impact of bluetongue controls during the autumn trading season and to ensure the process is simple and easily understood.

"The decision to designate the whole of Wales a Protection Zone has been made following careful analysis of a range of factors, including veterinary risk and economics, in consultation with our key industry stakeholders."

So far, there have been 2,000 new cases of bluetongue in Northern Europe, but the disease has not yet been found in Wales.

"This is due to the controls imposed across Europe and the successful vaccination programme in England and Wales so far," said Glossop.

"I would strongly urge livestock keepers to be proactive in vaccinating their animals as soon as the vaccine becomes available."

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