Bluetongue Strategy for Wales

The Welsh Assembly Government is in discussions with the livestock industry with a view to order a further 3m doses of bluetongue vaccine for Wales.

Wales has already secured access to 2.5 million doses, which will be made available for purchase by livestock keepers during the mid-summer if Wales has been declared a Protection Zone.

Outlining the next steps on bluetongue, Jones said: "Wales has been working closely with DEFRA on the UK bluetongue vaccination strategy. If the disease situation remains broadly as it is at the moment, we must wait for the English Protection Zone to reach the Welsh border before a Protection Zone can be declared in Wales.

"When the Protection Zone reaches Wales, I can then consider declaring a Protection Zone for vaccination, covering part of or the whole of Wales, taking account of veterinary advice. I have sought DEFRA's co-operation in ensuring that the Protection Zone reaches Wales as early as possible in the summer to allow vaccination to begin in Wales.

"In addition to the 2.5m doses already secured, discussions are currently ongoing on securing a further 3m. Bluetongue will have serious consequences for the livestock industry, which is why the industry must take full advantage of the opportunities to protect their animals as and when they become available.

"I understand that, following a meeting between the chief veterinary officer and the industry, there will be a joint call made to the industry to register their interest with a vet, so that they have access to the vaccine when it becomes available.

"I would add my voice to that call to encourage farmers to take up the opportunity to vaccinate when it becomes available."