Monday, September 24, 2007

Bluetongue - can the government do more?

No, it's not the disease which has afflicted Gordon Brown, but a disease which afflicts cattle and, particularly, sheep.

It is carried by a midge. Until recently, it was restricted to the continent of Africa. However, with global warming, the vector (carrier) is now able to survive in more northern latitudes and the disease is endemic in Netherlands, Germany and Belgium.

The disease has now been detected on a rare breeds farm near Ipswich. It can only be a matter of time before it spreads across southern Britain. Since a vaccine is more than a year away, we must pray for a hard winter this year or brace ourselves for the sight of sheep dying on our hillsides.

- Frank Little
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