With a number of reported cases of infectious imported animals in the UK and more than 15,000 cases of BTV8 having been reported in France so far this year, the potentially devastating threat to UK livestock and farmers, livelihoods from Bluetongue is as real as ever, say JAB campaigners.

Northern European countries such as Sweden recently reported their first cases of the disease, but, where vaccination has taken place in countries such as the Netherlands, the number of cases are significantly reduced compared with last year.A JAB spokesman said: “In England we have seen over 90 per cent of livestock vaccinated in the East and South East of the country. However while overall the take-up has been high, there has been a disturbing drop and delay in vaccine take-up in counties recently brought into the protection zone.” He said there appears to be a lackof under standing and in turn confidence, by farmers, made worse by unsubstantiated rumours. “ The reality is that if farmers do not vaccinate, the risk to their livestock from disease far outweighs any perceived riskwhich could be associated with vaccination.”

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