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Bluetongue – Update on Import Controls 29 February 2008

As of 1800 hours Saturday, 1/03/08, the conditions governing the importation of Bluetongue susceptible animals in the Isle of Man have been tightened. Imports of female cattle over 12 months of age female sheep over 6 months of age from Bluetongue restricted zones will be suspended until further notice. This decision follows developments at a farm in Northern Ireland where the disease was detected in imported cattle and subsequently in calves borne to those cattle.

These additional controls are in response to emerging science around how the Bluetongue virus might be transmitted and additional risks that might be posed by pregnant animals.

Movements of animals will continue to be permitted from free areas in the UK. The new controls will remain in place until further notice and will be regularly reviewed in line with emerging science and developments in the E U Commission.

Phil Gawne, Minister of DAFF says:

“In response to the science emerging from Northern Ireland, the Commission held a special meeting of their European Bluetongue Experts Group on Wednesday in Brussels. The conclusions from this Group will be considered by Standing Committee on Food Chain and Animal Health (SCOFCAH) Committee next week. It is expected that SCOFCAH will introduce revised measures in due course.

However, I feel we must adopt a precautionary and proportionate approach; acting decisively by taking further safeguard measures now to continue to protect our industry from this disease. In terms of the industry, I will leave it to them to reflect on these developments and consider carefully whether they should adopt a complete voluntary ban in order to protect the community:

I would strongly advise and welcome that action. Very few animals have been imported into the Island since the FMD import ban was lifted. They have all been post-import tested and results are awaited. None of these animals would fall into the prohibition announced today.

Any further imports will continue to be rigorously tested, and any animals demonstrating the virus will be destroyed without compensation.”

Notes for Editors: Contact: Phil Gawne, MHK Tel: 416221 E O’Donnell, Chief Veterinary Officer Tel: 685844

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