DEFRA refuses to fund 2009 bluetongue vaccine

DEFRA will not support the cost of bluetongue vaccine supplies in 2009, it has announced.

While it called for farmers to continue to with the voluntary vaccination against BTV8, farming minister Jane Kennedy said DEFRA would not underwrite the cost of producing the vaccine.

Mrs Kennedy said there were 12m doses of the vaccine available for use next year, subject to expiry dates, and urged farmers to make use of them.

“Although BTV8 has not been found circulating in the UK this year, we cannot be complacent,” she said.

“In addition to the risk of re-emergence of disease in UK, France has had over 22,000 new cases this year and this presents a serious risk as the disease is spread through midges which can cross the Channel and infect animals here.

“We urge farmers to vaccinate at the earliest opportunity as vaccination remains more important than ever. The message to the industry remains clear: don’t hesitate, vaccinate.”

To ensure vaccine is available at the most convenient time, she encouraged farmers to place their orders early and plan ahead, or take delivery of vaccine now if it can be stored.