Wales is expected to escape bluetongue restrictions at least until the end of the month.

Although the Welsh Assembly government intends to declare the whole of Wales a Bluetongue Protection Zone, it said such an announcement was unlikely before Sunday 31 August. This should help farmers planning livestock movements.

Wales Chief Veterinary Officer Christianne Glossop said the exact date was subject to the availability of bluetongue vaccine and no new disease outbreak.

The situation could change very quickly and everyone must bear this in mind, she added.

“Farmers who intend to take their animals to sales in the current disease free areas of Scotland and northern England, are advised to move them before the end of August to ensure that they are not caught out by the declaration of the protection zone in Wales.”

Producers should vaccinate against the disease, said Dr Glossop. “We must remember that the first case of bluetongue in the UK last year occurred in September. This is a period of high risk for the disease.”

The consequences of not vaccinating could be “very severe” for individual farmers and the industry. Farmers who had not already done so should contact their private vet and place an order for vaccine immediately.