The meat industry has launched a Joint Campaign Against Bluetongue (JAB) following the end of the vector-free period and the threat of more cases of the disease.
The 12 organisations involved, which represent farmers, livestock markets, the meat processing sector and the veterinary profession, are calling on a voluntary approach to vaccination.
In a statement published yesterday they said they all full supported the joint industry/Defra vaccination plan for bluetongue and were committed to working together on the campaign achieve mass vaccination of bluetongue susceptible animals.
"We recognise that a voluntary approach to vaccination has raised some eyebrows in some quarters but we are convinced that a voluntary, industry compulsory, mass vaccination programme is the right approach," it said.
"We believe that the EU's bureaucratic rules for a compulsory vaccination programme requiring official supervision would have slowed down the process of vaccination, put individual farmers businesses at greater risk, and increased the likelihood that the virus would spread across the country before animals could be vaccinated."
The statement continued: "Although the programme will be run on a voluntary basis, JAB is now embarking on a major campaign to urge all farmers with susceptible livestock to vaccinate their animals as soon as vaccine is available."
The British Meat Processors Association has published a summary of bluetongue slaughter movement conditions that apply in England following the vector-free period.