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Ban on livestock imports after UK cases of bluetongue

Tue, 28 Nov 2023

An immediate ban on the live importation of sheep, cattle and goats that are susceptible to the viral disease, known as bluetongue, has been introduced on the Isle of Man.

The precautionary measure comes after the UK Government confirmed five positive results in cattle in the Canterbury area of Kent this month, four of which came on Sunday.

The notifiable disease is borne by midges and can reduce milk production and cause infertility in some farm animals, but does not affect humans or food safety.

Clare Barber MHK, Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture, said: “The department is monitoring the situation closely and has moved quickly to safeguard Manx livestock and protect the island’s bluetongue disease free status.

‘”We have informed the farming community and will continue to advise them of any further developments.”

Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Amy Beckett said: “It is vitally important that we take decisive action to prevent bluetongue reaching our Island.

“We don’t know how long the restrictions will be in place but we are being kept up-to date by DEFRA and have already started looking at the potential for pre-import testing, which may allow us to lift the complete ban but only once we have established robust controls.”

Each year, around 200 sheep and 100 bovine animals are imported to the island, mainly for breeding purposes.

More information about the disease is available on Gov.im and Gov.UK.


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