Foot and mouth and bluetongue (blue tongue) restrictions to be eased

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DEFRA has confirmed that foot and mouth disease movement restrictions will be lifted outside the Risk Area on Wednesday (17 October), in parallel with the lifting of the foot and mouth protection zone in Surrey. This is on the provision there is no change in the disease situation.

Restrictions within the Bluetongue Control and Protection Zones will also be eased to allow markets from midnight Sunday (14 October).

The movement of susceptible animals from within the zones to approved slaughterhouses outside the Bluetongue zone will be permitted, however strict conditions will apply and markets within the foot and mouth risk area will remain closed.

From Monday, slaughterhouses outside the Bluetongue Zones will be able to apply to the Meat Hygiene Service for approval to take susceptible animals for slaughter, on the basis that the fulfil specified criteria.

Movements will be subject to conditions, which can be found on the DEFRA website.

Deputy chief veterinary officer Fred Landeg confirmed that the Surveillance Zone would remain in place until, at the earliest, 5 November, to allow for “comprehensive surveillance” to be completed.

Mr Landeg said: “We are well aware of the economic impacts of movement restrictions and the removal of the GB movement ban, outside of the foot and mouth disease Risk Area, should help the farming industry start to get back to business-as-usual.

“The resumption of markets and movements to a larger number of slaughterhouses should also ease the impact felt by farmers within the Bluetongue zones.”

He added that the Risk Area would remain, but its size would be under continual review.

These moves will come as Scotland and Wales also lift foot and mouth movement restrictions on Wednesday (17 October).

Are you relieved? Do you think, while movements are more than welcome, that the protection zone is being lifted too early? Post your thoughts on our dedicated forum thread on bluetongue.