Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Defra Extends Its Bluetongue Exclusion Zone into Yorkshire; Farming

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Defra Extends Its Bluetongue Exclusion Zone into Yorkshire; Farming

Article excerpt

Byline: Sam Wood

NORTH Yorkshire is covered by a bluetongue restriction zone after it was extended following two new confirmed cases, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said yesterday.

A case found in the wider surveillance zone which covers much of England has meant the protection zone has been extended further into Norfolk and Lincolnshire.

In turn, the surveillance zone has been extended further into North and West Yorkshire.

Another case of the disease, which is spread by midges, has been found in Hertfordshire, leading to the expansion of the protection zone around existing infected sites into Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.

Defra said the latest cases, which were found in cattle, were identified as part of pre-movement testing required to move animals out of the zones during the "vector-free" period.

Defra said the evidence suggested the animals were infected before the vector-free period was declared late last year.

There are now 110 confirmed cases of the disease.

The news comes just six days after strict bluetongue movement restrictions were re-imposed by the government.

As a result farmers within the enlarged zone will now not be able to move any animals out of the zone, except direct to slaughter. Animals can be moved into the zone and within it farmers can move animals as normal between farms, to market and to slaughter.

Movement restrictions had been eased slightly over the winter when evidence showed that the midges responsible for spreading the disease were not active.

Richard Ellison, NFU regional director said: "To discover just six days after restrictions were re-imposed that the surveillance zone has been extended will be a bitter blow to thousands of livestock farmers - especially those who find themselves on the new boundary. …

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