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Import Threat from Belgium

03 February 2009

UK - NFU Scotland is deeply concerned by reports that cattle from Belgium will shortly be arriving in the North of England.

It is rumoured that the cattle are destined for farms that are very close to the Scottish border. The imports would take place against the voluntary ban supported by all major producer groups in GB.

NFU Scotland has asked the Scottish Government to confirm with its English counterparts whether importation is underway and it calls on all GB organisations to again urge their members to support the country’s voluntary ban on imports.

NFU President, Jim McLaren said:

"Bluetongue still poses the biggest animal health threat to GB’s cattle and sheep sectors. All GB farming unions, along with NSA Scotland, NBA Scotland and the Scottish Beef Cattle Association have united behind a voluntary ban on imports coming into the country until such times as all strains of the deadly Bluetongue disease are seen to be under control in Northern Europe.

"Despite this, it appears that there are some so selfish that they would continue with importation of stock from high risk areas with little or no concern for the thoughts, wishes and livelihoods of their near neighbours or the future of the wider industry.

"The last year has shown us that the testing regime used in Europe does not work, and that there have now been more than 50 animals imported into England and Wales that left their country of birth guaranteed free of disease but tested positive for the virus when they arrived on these shores. The potential threat posed by these latest imports is no different.

"Since the Scottish industry jointly called on producers to protect themselves against Bluetongue, no direct imports of susceptible livestock have come into Scotland from continental Europe. That is to be warmly welcomed.

"It has also been pointed out that some Scottish farmers may consider importing stock into England before moving it to Scotland as a way of circumventing the voluntary ban. Whether movements are made directly or indirectly into Scotland, they bring with them the risk of introducing Bluetongue to Scotland and wreaking havoc on our key livestock sector. We would find either move intolerable."

TheCattleSite News Desk


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