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BTV1 is a Warning to UK Importers

27 November 2008

UK - The Ulster Farmers’ Union says the detection of the BTV1 strain of Bluetongue in Northern England is a significant warning to local farmers not to put the industry at disease risk through animal imports.

UFU President Graham Furey said; “The industry in GB has been struggling with the financial and practical impact of an ongoing BTV8 outbreak. Now we have a new Bluetongue strain imported to Great Britain from Northern Europe by the selfish actions of a small number of people in the industry”.

UFU President Graham Furey.

Referring to Northern Ireland Graham Furey said; “To date we have managed to avoid the disease in Northern Ireland and remain a Bluetongue free zone. This is in large part due to a combined effort by the industry and the Department of Agriculture. However, we are aware that a number of individuals are putting their own interests before the well being of the industry and continue to import live animals to local farms.

This includes in recent weeks a consignment of cattle from France. Sooner or later their luck may run out and if they bring Bluetongue into Northern Ireland, they will have brought unnecessary hardship to the livestock industry at a time when sheep, beef and dairy farmers are already going through a very difficult time”.

Graham Furey said; “In the strongest possible terms, I am calling on people who are importing live animals to stop doing so. This is the clearly the most obvious way in which we can minimise the risk of a Bluetongue outbreak in Northern Ireland”.

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