13 June 2012
Bluetongue, which first arose in 2007 with confirmation of the livestock disease Bluetongue in northern Europe, posed a considerable threat to Jersey’s cattle, sheep and goats.
The threat of the disease was successfully averted by a vaccination campaign led by the Department of the Environment and implemented by the States Veterinary Officer (SVO), Linda Lowseck, alongside farmers and private vets.
Although suspicion of the disease, which causes production losses and impacts on animal welfare, has never been reported in the Island, in order to achieve international recognition of disease freedom, a blood sampling and testing program was carried out in 2010 and 2011.
A presentation by the SVO was provided to the European Commission last week and Jersey’s disease-free status has subsequently been confirmed.
Mrs Lowseck said “Official recognition that Jersey is free of Bluetongue has been achieved by superb uptake of the vaccination program to prevent disease establishing.
“The recent confirmation of Schmallemberg, for which there is no prevention, in the Island shows how vulnerable Jersey livestock is to disease agents which can be blown across from mainland Europe. Freedom from Bluetongue assists farmers exporting animals and contributes to Jersey's high health status and reputation.”
This means it is easier for Jersey farmers to export livestock to UK mainland. It is no longer permissible to vaccinate.