March 13, 2008


EU vets slams UK's voluntary approach for bluetongue vaccination



EU veterinarians recently expressed disapproval on UK's strategy to vaccinate against bluetongue, saying that the measures are ineffective, random and unmonitored.


The comments came after UK failed to win approval from the EU commission to qualify for EU funding.


The Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE), which represents 43 veterinary organisations from 36 European countries, said the UK was not able to guarantee an optimal protection of the animals against the disease.


In the UK, vaccination of susceptible animals against bluetongue is voluntary. It is up to the farmer to decide whether or not to vaccinate his livestock and answer up for all the costs.


Should a farmer decide to vaccinate his livestock, he would be the one to contact a veterinarian for a prescription, buy the vaccine and ensure that it is properly administered.


This, according to the EU vets, will make unclear what percentage of the animal population was vaccinated, when the animals were vaccinated and if this was carried out correctly.


FVE President Walter Winding said the UK approach was probably driven by a strong desire to cut costs, and has little to do with animal health and welfare.


Meanwhile, British Veterinary Association president Nick Blayney, said the FVE had failed to understand the difference in the situation in the UK compared to the EU. UK's strategy, Blayney said, was drawn up painstakingly by the stakeholder group.

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