Email received June 4 2010 from Dr Ruth
The rules are being changed by the EU for the UK
but will still allow animals from a protection zone to be moved to a low risk
zone. Actually we should be an uninfected zone. But the UK would not
want this as a number of farmers particularly dairy farmers of cattle goats or
sheep want to import pregnant females from the EU. If we were in an
unifected zone we would not be allowed to import animals, especially pregnant
animals with infected foetuses.
There are many reasons why the UK livestock
industry wants to import live animals and not just sperm or embryos. The
replacement of dairy cows slaughtered for bovine TB is difficult in many areas,
farmers want to import expensive pedigree or continental dairy breeds, and goat
dairy farming of the kind practised in Holland is fast rising in the UK.
For instance cattle dairy farms which have closed down, either because of the
low price of milk or because of recurrent bovine TB have huge sheds and there is
a local goat dairy farm being set up in one such by an enterprising young
farmer; the price for a litre of goats milk is 47p to about 24p for cow's
The rule I would like to see is that if pregnant
animals are to be imported then they must be certified immune to BTV8 and not
infected with BTV8 before they conceive the pregnancy during the course of
which it is intended they will be imported. Otherwise they must be
certified non-pregnant at the time of importing and follow the current rules for
this low risk zone we are being allowed to assume.
It is not good enough that the breed societies are
urging all farmers to continue vaccination against BTV8 so pregnant animals can
be imported. With very low or absent BTV circulation on the coastal fringe
of Europe, in Holland, Belgium and France there is not a risk of BTV8
coming in on a wind borne midge cloud.
I hope this is clear enough to be posted on your
The fact is that no one around here, including the
vet, are vaccinating their animals against BTV8.