Continued vaccination is the key to making sure Britain remains free of bluetongue, farmers are being warned.
The national JAB campaign group is reminding farmers to protect their animals against disease in 2010.
A second year free from bluetongue outbreaks is needed to see the UK declared disease-free and farmers are being urged to keep up their guard and continue with vaccination as part of their regular flock or herd plan.
In a joint statement JAB said: “We are proud of our success so far in keeping this disease at bay.
“We are hopeful, that with continued vaccination and vigilance, we can keep bluetongue out of the country however there is no room for complacency, now is the time to ensure cattle and sheep are protected as an outbreak of bluetongue can have a potentially devastating impact on the economic viability of a livestock farm.
“However the disease is still prevalent in Europe with more than 700 cases reported last year.
“Anyone importing animals needs to double check the health and vaccination status of their livestock to ensure we keep the disease out. We can not afford to rest on our laurels; vigilance and continued vaccination is key.”
Meanwhile, new research from the Institute for Animal Health shows that for the first time lambs born to ewes that have been vaccinated twice against BT8 (the 2nd shot being a booster one month before lambing) are protected against the disease for at least 14 weeks – the age at which many lambs go for slaughter.
Are you planning to vaccinate your animals. If not, why not?