Extra time for Welsh farmers

The bluetongue Protection Zone for the whole of Wales, which was announced in August, is now not expected to be actioned until at least next month.

The announcement made by the Welsh Assembly Government on 5 August to declare the whole of Wales a bluetongue Protection Zone by the end of August or the beginning of September has now been slightly retracted to give farmers more time to prepare.

Dr Christianne Glossop, chief veterinary officer, said: "The fact that farmers now know the declaration of the Protection Zone is not expected to be before Sunday, 31 August will assist them with their planning over the next two weeks. The situation with bluetongue, however, can change very quickly and everyone must bear this in mind."

The Welsh government decided to declare the whole of Wales a protection zone, rather than a gradual roll-out of the zone by county, but a definite date was said to be dependent on the availability of vaccines and no fresh outbreaks.

Dr Glossop added: "My message continues to be to farmers that they must prepare to vaccinate. There must be no complacency. There have been some 4,000 new cases of bluetongue in northern Europe in the last few weeks and we must remember that the first case of bluetongue in the UK last year occurred in September. This is a period of high risk for the disease. Farmers must prepare to vaccinate now."

The chief veterinary officer for the Welsh government urged farmers to contact their vet immediately if they had not already done so and place their vaccine orders now, for the good of their own farm, other farms and the whole of the industry.

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