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Having participated in the combined meetings of the European Livestock Association – ELA -- and the EU Foot and Mouth Disease & Classical Swine Fever Coordination Action, held in Brussels on 17th and 18th of October 2007, we, the undersigned individual participants, consider that as:

  • Bluetongue affects most ruminant species, domestic as well as wildlife

  • Bluetongue causes much animal suffering and a high mortality, particularly in sheep, as well as important economic losses to the rural economy

  • Bluetongue virus (BTV-8) has effectively adapted itself to biting midges (vectors) native to North Western Europe and that

  • Bluetongue will reappear next spring and will likely continue to spread in all directions;

furthermore considering that:

  • Bluetongue can be controlled by vaccination only

  • Vaccination prevents animal and owners’ distress

  • Bluetongue vaccine against the virus strain acting in North-west Europe is in development, but not yet available

  • Full-scale vaccine production and registration will require at least 6 months before needed quantities of vaccine will be available and that

  • Vaccine producers will not start large-scale vaccine production in the absence of a clear European vaccination policy and subsequent orders; the amount of vaccine needed for the protection of the European livestock is likely to exceed 150 million doses.

  • Since the amount of vaccine that will be available initially will not cover all the animals that will needed to be vaccinated, a plan must be put in place in each Member State now to decide which species or groups of animals must be vaccinated first.

  • In view of the potential spread of BTV-8 via the vector midge (C. obsoletus complex) throughout the palaearctic and the Mediterranean basin, it is essential that North-Western Europe takes this opportunity to try to control, or ideally eradicate BTV-8, this side of the Sahara.

We therefore conclude that:-

the disease situation does not allow further inaction,

and therefore RESOLVE:

  • to urge European Governments to act swiftly and decisively in order to ensure large scale vaccine production as soon as possible.


  • to urge Governments, European Commission/ European Parliament, and the various stakeholder groups to immediately develop Plans of Action regarding the species to be vaccinated, vaccination schedules, required vaccination coverage and allocation of available vaccine stocks within Europe as soon as they become available.

22 October 2007

The above is signed by the following participants:

Dr. Paul Sutmoller, virologist, ELA member, NL

Peter King, Chair ELA, UK

Chris Stockdale, vice-chair ELA, UK

Betty Stikkers, Shetland sheep breeder, ELA member, NL

Mary Marshall, ELA member, UK

Mary Critchley, Warmwell, ELA member, UK

Dr. Ruth Watkins, virologist and farmer, ELA member, UK

Anne Lambourn, ELA member, UK

Sabine Zentis, Longhorn breeder, ELA member, GE

Christine Bijl, hobby holder and ELA member, NL

Paula Polman, hobby holder and ELA member, NL

Richard Sanders, Elm Farm Reseach Centre, UK

John Fletcher, FEDFA (European Deer Farmers), UK

Drs Goossen van den Bosch, veterinarian, NL

Marc Jasper, Director, Global Health Programs, Technology Management Company, ELA member, USA

Alistair Davy, NDFM (Northern Dales farmers), UK

Jan Niks, P-KSG (Dutch small-scale sheep and goat holders), ELA member, NL

Kim Marie Haywood, Director, National Beef Association, UK

Sabine Ohm, PROVIEH, GE

Peter Baber, NSA(National Sheep Association)

Jane Barribal,

Mechthild Oertel, White Galloway breeder, ELA member, PROVIEH member of the board, GE

Hon. Toby Tennant and Lady Emma Tennant, sheep farmers, Association of Independent Meat Suppliers

Simon Barteling, virologist

Sible Westendorp, veterinarian, sheep farmer and ELA member

Please note that on the ELA website you can find some very interesting additional information.

We have obtained the insights of Dr. Geoff Letchworth1, a BT specialist from the States. He states that "biosafety has to flow logically from the basic biology of the pathogen, the vector, and the host".