FEBRUARY 14, 2008: Farmers in Scotland face fines of £5,000 or six months in jail if theyfail to comply with new laws designed to stop bluetongue spreadingacross the border.

Outlining additional checks on livestock coming into Scotland from Bluetongue Restricted Zones in the rest of the UK, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Richard Lochhead, said it was ‘crucially important’ to keep the disease out of Scotland for as long as possible.Animals from such zones will be checked to ensure that all necessary conditions have been met and that pre-movement testing has taken place. Post-movement testing will be performed on livestock not previously tested and any further necessary action will be taken.The checks are in addition to the legal requirement on farmers to report the movement of animals from any restricted zone to the Scottish Government within three days of the livestock arriving.Mr Lochhead said action would be taken against anyone breaching the regulations. “The movement of livestock from restricted areas without the necessary tests present the biggest risk to Scotland,” he said. These checks will ensure the necessary procedures for movement within the UK are fully complied with.“Our best defence remains with individual producers taking care to source their livestock from low risk areas wherever possible.”The move has been welcomed by NFU Scotland, though a spokesman said it would have preferred the Scottish Government to go even further and introduce mandatory post-movement tests. However, it has welcomed the fact that there is at least a commitment to properly police pre-movement tests and carry out further tests if necessary.

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