Defra launches Animal Disease Roadshows

Defra this week launched the Livestock Markets Roadshow with the first of 80 visits to market towns around England, at Cirencester Market in Gloucestershire.

The Roadshow aims to speak to farmers face-to-face and communicate important messages about the need for vigilance and rapid reporting with regard to new and existing animal diseases, including Bovine TB and bluetongue. The Roadshow will also remind farmers of existing legislation and the new EU welfare and transport regulations, pre-movement testing and ear-tagging.

Jeff Rooker, minister for Farming and Animal Health and Welfare, said: "The Livestock Markets Roadshow is an excellent opportunity for us to communicate important information to the farming community about notifiable diseases, the need for vigilance and animal welfare requirements.

"In light of the recent disease outbreaks in the UK, we really need to help farmers implement best practice so that together we can takesteps to combat future disease outbreaks and the damage they cause to the farming industry."

Central themes of the Livestock Markets Roadshow include:

* Bluetongue: Farmers in the Zones should be vigilant and report any signs of disease promptly.

* Welfare and Transport: from 5 January 2008, it is a legal requirement for all transporters and livestock road hauliers to have transporter authorisations and Competency Certificates, when transporting livestock (poultry, cattle, sheep, pigs, goats and equidae) for distances of over 65km and in connection with an economic activity. For more information see:* Bovine (bTB): Best practice husbandry advice to reduce the risk of bTB transmission and the use of pre-movement testing, which aims to reduce the risk of spreading bTB through movements of cattle.

* Biosecurity: advice on prevention of a range of diseases including Foot and Mouth disease, Classical Swine Fever, Avian Influenza and Bovine TB.

The mobile unit will be managed by representatives of Defra who will be on-hand to answer farmers' queries about disease prevention.

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