Farmers attending the opening day of the Royal Welsh Show learned of a possible change in bluetongue vaccination policy.

 

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Elin Jones, Welsh assembly rural affairs minister, surprised many by signalling that she is considering abandoning the ideal of gradually rolling out vaccination in favour of declaring all of Wales a protection zone.

The said future policy would be dictated by vaccine delivery predictions from Intervet and Merial. The next 1m doses had been delayed until at least August 17 so if the other 5.5m doses on order could be delivered very soon after she would abandon the planned piecemeal roll out.

Doing this in early September would help farmers through the hugely important autumn sales of breeding stock by making more customers available in England.

“We have to try to encourage trade and do not want a repeat of 2007,” Ms Jones said.

Everything possible would be done to provide the information farmers needed to plan sales.

She also insisted that she would not change the Welsh assembly’s comprehensive bovine TB eradication strategy, including the planned limited badger cull.

“Wales has devolved powers and can set its own agenda regardless of what is happening in England.”

But Dr Christianne Glossop, Wales chief vet, cautioned farmers who think that a badger cull would solve everything that in some areas the spread of TB had nothing to do with badgers or other wildlife.