Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Welsh farmers view!

A letter from a Welsh farmer that sums up the general feeling amongst smaller farmers and smallholders, with regard to the idiocy of the Defra policy on Bluetounge.
(Thanks to

Sent: Wednesday, March 12, 2008 AM
Subject: Re: Concerns about Bluetongue
Dear ----

Thank you for your reply.

DEFRA seem to have accepted that there is an acceptable risk of exposure to Bluetongue for sheep in Wales, given the fact that vaccine will not be available until April/May, when the risk of Bluetongue begins in the middle of March.

Kirsty Williams, AM for Brecon and Radnorshire stated yesterday that the 2.5 million doses of vaccine ordered for Wales would only be enough to treat 70% of susceptible animals in Powys and Monmouthshire - what about the other 30% of animals in those two counties, and the other 13 or so counties in Wales?

So there is inadequate provision for vaccine in Wales, along with late delivery for the inadequate amount of vaccine ordered.

As a farmer, I am happy to accept a duty of care for my animals, where I ensure that they have every protection that is available to them. I vaccinate my stock regularly to ensure that they have immunity against clostridial diseases (Heptavac - P), drench them regularly to prevent fluke/worms, and use pour ons to protect against flystrike. Why is it now that we are 3 days from a point where there is a potential risk for my animals to contract Bluetongue and I am powerless to prevent them from the possibility?

We are now on the brink of another potential disaster for farming here. While DEFRA and the EU discuss zones and funding, and who should have the vaccine first, the disease will not respect borders to counties, and could feasibly come to Wales more quickly than expected.

It is not good enough. While you can get Anderson to write another 'independent' report at the end of this year which will soft soap any Government responsibility, I could be looking at having lost a flock of 1st class pure Welsh Mountain sheep, a flock which has taken generations of farming to bring to the standard that they are now. I think it is dereliction of duty, and it is more than disappointing to me.


(Name supplied)

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