Farmers urged to vaccinate against bluetongue

Farmers within the bluetongue protection zone (PZ) are being urged by the Joint Action against Bluetongue (JAB) to vaccinate their animals if they have not already done so.

In a joint statement, JAB said: "The vaccination campaign is going exceptionally well with more than 9 million does of vaccine made available to farmers in the PZ. However, we must not be complacent, as there are still more animals to vaccinate and we must not delay in protecting them from bluetongue.

"As the weather conditions improve, the risk of new cases of bluetongue increases and the objective of the JAB campaign has been to try and protect the UK from the devastation this disease caused in much of the rest of Europe last year. We do not want to see in the UK the heavy losses of sheep experienced by some other member states, or the fertility problems seen in many cattle herds. The message is simple - if you want to protect your livestock, 'don't hesitate, vaccinate'."

Commenting on the recent delays in vaccine delivery, JAB added: "It is unfortunate that we have seen a problem with the latest batch of vaccine, which, for quality control reasons, is undergoing further testing. JAB understands the frustration that this delay has caused. However, this is just one batch and Intervet has so far exceeded delivery expectations and we are hopeful that we will be back on track very soon."