New Forest organisations urge commoners and farmers to vaccinate against Bluetongue

Published Wednesday 16 April 2008

The New Forest National Park Authority, the Verderers and the National Farmers’ Union are urging commoners and farmers in the New Forest to vaccinate their stock against the Bluetongue virus.

The New Forest is already in the Bluetongue Protection Zone and a case was discovered in the Forest at the end of March.

Bluetongue is a serious disease that can affect the health and welfare of live stock.  Without vaccination animals such as cows, sheep and goats could become very sick or even die. This is why three New Forest organisations are working together to ask people to vaccinate their stock.

Stephen Trotter, Director of Conservation, Recreation and Sustainable Development, said: ‘We understand that for commoners it may be difficult and time-consuming to retrieve their animals from the Forest once they have been turned out for the summer.   However, unless everyone gets their stock vaccinated the potential benefits of the vaccination could be undermined as the transmission of the virus through unhygienic practices cannot be ruled out. We understand the vaccine will be available in May; we encourage all owners to register with their Vet to secure their supply now.

‘We have been working closely with the Verderers who feel it would be beneficial for commoners to know where to find information on the disease and to explain the benefits of vaccination.’

All commoners will soon be receiving an information pack from the National Park Authority which explains Bluetongue and its effects and the advantages of vaccinating against it.

More information about Bluetongue can be found online at www.defra.gov.uk/bluetongue and at the Joint Campaign Against Bluetongue www.bluetongue-info.com

-ends-

Media contact:
Karen Evans, Communications Officer, New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646650
Email: karen.evans@newforestnpa.gov.uk

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