FEBRUARY 20, 2008: Cornwall is to be included in the bluetongue disease surveillance zone- because this would make it easier for farmers to move cattle.

Defra was asked to include the county and is expected to do so in days, even though it is many miles from the nearest outbreak in Dorset.Animal movement restrictions imposed on Devon, because of the Dorset outbreak, are making the trading of cattle and sheep between Cornwall and the rest of southern England, all of which is now under bluetongue movement restrictions, increasingly difficult.The problem was exemplified by the fact that a sale of dairy cattle scheduled for Holsworthy Market in Devon next week was being moved by auctioneers Kivells to Hallworthy Market in Cornwall, because of the large entry of cows from Cornwall which would have come under movement restriction once they had crossed the county boundary.The restriction means that all cattle and sheep which are not going directly to slaughter and are being sold within a surveillance zone, have to undergo a blood test before they can travel into a “clean” zoned area.The situation had become very difficult for Cornish farmers, prompting the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) to ask its 800 members in the county if they wanted to be included in the surveillance zone.Julie Edwards, the regional senior farming adviser at the NFU, said they had consulted widely, talking also to the National Beef Association, National Sheep Association and the auctioneers, and most wanted inclusion because of the trading implications.”We have consequently asked the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for Cornwall to be included in the surveillance zone, and we understand this will be done within the next few days,” she was reported as saying.

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