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Tighter Controls to Halt Bluetongue

20 November 2008

UK - Increased controls to prevent the spread of bluetongue virus across Europe have been welcomed by Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs Richard Lochhead.

Mr Lochhead has encouraged the European Commission to tighten controls on movement following recent outbreaks of Bluetongue Virus 6.

Stricter movement restrictions have now been put in place in Germany and the Netherlands to help prevent the bluetongue virus spreading.

Proposals to amend bluetongue legislation and permit vaccination in disease free areas whilst preventing the import of animals from areas where the virus is circulating are also welcomed.

Mr Lochhead said:

"The discovery of Bluetongue Virus 6 was a real concern to our livestock industry. I have been demanding action to reduce the risk to Scottish livestock and have raised with the UK seeking an urgent investigation and the rapid implementation of effective controls.

"I welcome the prompt response by the European Commission and the authorities in the Netherlands. As a consequence exports of susceptible animals out of the Bluetongue Virus 6 zone are currently not permitted.

"The European Commission has also tabled proposals on allowing vaccination in areas where virus is not circulating. This is a potentially important step and a matter that I raised with Commissioner Vassiliou earlier in the year.

"The Scottish Government will spare no effort in its determination to protect Scotland from the threat of bluetongue."


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