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Remote Farms Gain Extension to Vaccination Deadline

26 February 2009

UK - NFU Scotland has welcomed the Scottish Government’s decision to extend the compulsory Bluetongue vaccination deadline for some of Scotland’s most remote livestock farmers.

For the vast majority of Scottish livestock producers, they will still be required to have vaccinated all cattle, sheep and goats over three months of age before the deadline of 30 April 2009. The figures produced by the Scottish Government show that Scotland’s compulsory plan is going well with more than 3 million doses of vaccine having been used by Scottish farmers to date.

However, for those farmers with livestock on uninhabited islands and, on a case by case basis, those with particularly remote hill sheep flocks north of the Great Glen, there is the opportunity to extend the vaccination window by two months to 30 June 2009. This would allow vaccination to better fit normal lambing and gathering times on these very remote units. To secure this exemption, producers are asked to apply to their local Animal Health office and, for remote flocks, support from the farm’s veterinary surgeon for an extension will be required.

NFU Scotland’s Vice-president, Nigel Miller said:

“Vaccination remains our best line of defence against strain 8 of the Bluetongue virus and Scottish producers deserve a pat on the back for their efforts to keep Scotland disease-free. The compulsory vaccination programme is going well and vaccine uptake is ahead of schedule. Scottish producers are also sticking by the ban on imports of cattle and sheep from mainland Europe, where Bluetongue disease remains out of control.

“However, within the Scottish compulsory requirements, it became clear to the Scottish Government and stakeholders that the 30 April deadline could create welfare problems for those remote units that would not normally gather stock before that time of year. We welcome the pragmatic solution that has been offered and urge those producers in that position to contact their local Animal Health office for more information about the derogation and the veterinary evidence that may be required.

“For the vast majority of Scottish producers, compliance with the 30 April deadline remains. I would urge those farmers who have yet to vaccinate their stock to make sure they have discussed their vaccine requirements with their vet and put a clear plan in place when vaccination will be carried out.”

TheCattleSite News Desk


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