Updates from Defra: Bluetongue virus

Each month, the team at Defra send us their updates, and we'll share the top picks which we believe are important and helpful for you, our community of Land App users, here on the blog.

Please note, the following updates come directly from Defra, and are not written by Land App. There are limited updates this month due to pre-election communication rules.

This month, Defra have made the following announcements:

Latest bluetongue update: risk to livestock and steps to control virus set out for year ahead

On 7 May, the Animal & Plant Health Agency published an updated qualitative risk assessment, which confirmed a very high probability of a new introduction of bluetongue virus serotype 3 (BTV-3) into livestock in Great Britain through infected biting midges being blown over from northern Europe. 

Bluetongue virus is primarily transmitted by biting midges (Culicoides species) and affects cattle, sheep, and other ruminants such as goats and deer, and camelids such as llamas and alpacas. The virus does not affect people or food safety. 

On 23 May, Defra set out how it will manage an outbreak of bluetongue virus in England this year to help farmers and livestock keepers prepare. The Disease Control Framework for Bluetongue Virus Serotype 3 in England in 2024 – which was developed following discussions with a wide range of industry stakeholders – confirms that movement controls of susceptible animals and their germinal products will be used as a precautionary tool to stem spread of the disease until a safe and effective vaccine for BTV-3 becomes widely available.  

Work is underway with vaccine manufacturers to facilitate safe access to a BTV-3 vaccine as soon as possible, but it is vital that any vaccine has the confidence of industry, consumers and trading partners. This includes understanding the efficacy of any vaccine deployed across all species, together with potential impacts on trade.

Livestock keepers should remain vigilant, familiarise themselves with the clinical signs and monitor their animals frequently. Any suspicions of this notifiable disease should be reported to APHA immediately. 

Keepers must also maintain up-to-date registrations for all livestock, land and buildings used to keep livestock, even short-term lets, so the location of susceptible animals can be traced to help prevent and control disease. Find out when and how to apply for temporary land arrangements (TLA) or a temporary CPH (tCPH).

Read more about bluetongue and the Disease Control Framework for BTV-3 in England in 2024 on GOV.UK.


Share the Post

Read more

Thought Leadership

14 May 2024

Tristan O'Leary

Regenerative farming, agroecology, and the future of food with Riverford’s Harriet Bell

“It’s critical we don’t have food systems too big to fail”  ...

Read more

23 Apr 2024

Land App Team

Updates from Defra: SFI Cap Announced, Dartmoor Review Published and Water Restoration Fund Opens

Each month, the team at Defra send us their updates, and we'll share the top picks which we believe are important and helpful for you, our community of Land App users, here on the blog....

Read more

4 Apr 2024

Tristan O'Leary

What is Regenerative Farming?

Previously confined to the margins of the conversation about agriculture, ‘regenerative farming’ is now being spoken about at almost every turn. Land management approaches are being re-evaluated worldwide in response to climate events, flooding and drought, the continued decline in...

Read more