Take advantage and vaccinate your animals before turning them out to protect them from the threat of bluetongue. This is the message from the JAB campaign which aims to keep up the pressure on livestock farmers to vaccinate for the coming season.

Vaccine manufacturers Merial, Intervet and Fort Dodge are all supplying vaccine and it is available in all veterinary practices across England. JAB, a wide group of industry organisations, is urging livestock producers to carry out vaccination as early as possible so animals are protected before the onset of warmer weather when the risk of infection increases as the midges that carry the disease become more active.

In a joint statement JAB said "In 2008 we were very fortunate not to see a re-emergence of the bluetongue virus in England, while France reported a dramatic increase in new cases throughout the year, but we cannot over-emphasise the threat that still hangs over us from this disease.

"Looking at our experience so far there is a very real risk bluetongue could circulate again in the UK in 2009, either as a result of wind-borne incursion or through animals legally brought into the UK from the Continent, so the need to protect our livestock remains as important as ever.

"We must not forget the severe economic hardship bluetongue caused the farming community when it first hit our shores in 2007. Vaccination remains the only effective tool to protect susceptible animals and farmers should vaccinate as soon as possible. The message remains very clear - to protect our industry from this disease "don't hesitate, vaccinate". We would urge farmers to speak to their vet if they have any questions about vaccination and to order vaccine through their vet as soon as they can."

1. Core industry group JAB is leading the push on vaccination against the disease which, at its worst, kills both cattle and sheep. It swept across Europe in 2007 and so far 137 cases have been detected in England. As yet no new cases of the disease have been reported in England in 2008-2009.

2. The successful, industry-wide campaign has so far seen just under 17 million vaccine doses released in England.

3. JAB members include: NFU, National Sheep Association, National Beef Association, British Meat Processors Association , Livestock Auctioneers Association, Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers, British Veterinary Association , Country Land and Business Association, Tenant Farmers Association, Association of Independent Meat Suppliers, Dairy UK, British Cattle Veterinary Association, the Sheep Veterinary Society, the Rare Breed Survival Trust, British Alpaca Society, British Llama Society, British Wool Marketing Board, British Simmental Society, English Beef and Lamb Executive and the Sheep Centre.

4. Further information on bluetongue can be found on

- defra
- the BVA bluetongue pages at bva/activity_and_advice/Bluetongue.aspx
- nfuonline

British Veterinary Association
7 Mansfield Street, London W1G 9NQ

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