December 15, 2008
The European Commission has approved the National Beef Association's proposal of allowing farmers to vaccinate their livestock against bluetongue disease.
The Commission has confirmed that pre-emptive vaccination against the disease is now allowed.
The Commission has also fixed new restrictions on the movement of animals from zones where bluetongue is active, which may allow Scotland to ban pork imports from some EU member states next year.
This move follows an EU-wide, website petition organised by the National Beef Association's Scottish Council due to frustration at Scotland's inability to take direct protective action this summer.
The petition pressed for low-risk countries lying outside bluetongue protection zones (PZs) to be able to distribute vaccines ahead of the disease's arrival.
A strong response from farmers in Scotland and other EU countries have contributed to the Commission's decisions, said Kim Haywood, director of the association.
"It is a pity that these decisions were not made earlier in the year. However, it is clear the Commission has reacted to the alarming spread of the disease across most countries in Western Europe and so those, like Scotland, which have yet to confirm the presence of the disease within their borders will be better able to protect themselves," said Haywood.