Sunday, 14 October 2007

".....The Dutch and Germans ...must be weeping at the delay"

"by a malign stroke of there is now at a halt while the clapped-out buildings are brought up to scratch." So says Clive Aslet on the subject of DEFRA's indefinite and groundless hold-up of Bluetongue vaccine at the Merial plant on the Pirbright site. Writing in the Sunday Telegraph he says that when a vaccine for Bluetongue is finally ready, there is no doubt that it will be used.
"This ought to pave the way for foot and mouth vaccine to be used as a matter of course throughout Europe.
He reminds readers that in those far-off days of August, it appeared that the Brown government had learnt the lessons of 2001. "Vaccination was talked of sympathetically. Since then, Defra has reverted to type" adding that it was the UK who pressed for Europe to be treated as a foot and mouth free zone in the first place and echoes what warmwell has always maintained,
"It is only the financial interest of a small number of livestock farmers - who would, for a time, be prevented from exporting their animals - that prevents vaccines from being used."
It is cheering to find that there are commentators talking about the ethical dimension to so-called welfare culls of animals. ".. For the meat won't be sold in supermarkets (we consumers are said to be too finicky to buy it). It will be incinerated. Won't the Third World goggle at us in appalled disbelief?"

Bluetongue hits goats in Holland

From ProMed update email
"...In a group of more than 100 goats, 10 have been found to be seriously sick. Up to now, it was not known if goats, infected with BTV-8, would develop a clinical disease.."
The UK would do well to learn from our European neighbours.

We have, also in the Sunday Telegraph, the misleading headline "Bluetongue spreads from cattle to sheep" which suggests that cattle can pass the disease on to sheep. The article fails to explain clearly enough that the only vector is the midge. Bluetongue is not contagious and it is worrying that there are still journalists writing about animal disease in the UK who appear not understand much about it and who are in danger of misleading the public. Sheep can be infected only if an infected female midge feeds on it while in the viraemic stage. They cannot be infected by cattle.

Bluetongue outbreak detected in Denmark

Denmark has had its first case of Bluetongue - in a sheep herd near Sakskobing on the island of Lolland, south of Zealand, the European Commission said today (See Alertnet.) Denmark has reported this first case as an outbreak.
It will be remembered that the UK dithered from the time of its first case on September 22 until - finally - on September 28 Defra, in the person of Fred Landeg, accepted that the UK "had an outbreak".

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