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Culicoides sonorensis, bluetongue disease biting midge

Culicoides sonorensis, bluetongue disease biting midge

I’ve just heard that Bluetongue Disease has been found on a farm in Devon, not million miles from here.

‘A total of eight heifers at the farm in Tiverton have tested positive for the non-contagious virus.
The animals were among a consignment of 35 Holstein heifers imported from Germany within the last week.
The cases were detected by routine testing, which is carried out on all bluetongue susceptible animals arriving from continental Europe.’

So says the BBC online news. It goes on to say

‘The heifers were transported from a bluetongue protection zone in Germany to Devon, itself within a protection zone.
A Defra statement said: “It is not unexpected to find infected animals in the protection zone.
“There is no evidence to suggest that the virus is circulating between local midge and animal populations in the local areas.
“Full epidemiological investigations are underway.” ‘

I am very puzzled. Why weren’t the heifers tested before they left Germany?
And why ‘is it not unexpected to find infected animals in a protection zone’?

Are DEFRA forgetting they made the majority of England part of the protection zone so they could bend EU rules and allow a vaccination programme to be put in place? It was not, in the majority of counties, because there were infected midges and animals in those areas.

Could this be an experiment to see if the vaccine holds up under fire? Oh, oh those damn conspiracy theories! But remember we’ve all been told it only needs one midge to have a blood meal from an infected animal for the disease to go on the rampage.

I was beginning to feeling quietly confident that England’s firewall of vaccinated animals was giving us the protection we needed from the continental wind blown Culicoides midge. Arriving on our shores by its own volition is something we can do very little about, apart from vaccination and being prepared as best we can. But to import the disease? Now? When midges are at their hight? This takes the biscuit.

So, very well done someone out there. I hope you’re pleased with yourself. My nice little security blanket’s been stripped away. Maybe my worry is completely unfounded, I sure hope so.

sheep suffering with bluetongue disease

sheep suffering with bluetongue disease

Locks Park Farm

Thanks for visiting my blog. All entries are presented in chronological order.

I have a small organic farm on the Culm grasslands near Hatherleigh in Devon, with sheep and beef cattle. I've been farming in the county for more than 30 years. I've set up this blog to share views on farming and the countryside - please do give your thoughts.

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The Campaign to Protect Rural England has helped set up this blog. We want farming to thrive in England, and believe that it is essential that people understand farming and farmers better in order for that to happen. Paula's views expressed here are her own and we won't necessarily share all of them, but we're happy to have helped give her a voice.

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