Liam Aylward MEP, Member of the European Parliament Committee on Agriculture has supported the action of the Commission in giving farmers the flexibility to proactively tackle the threat to bluetongue disease among livestock through the use of inactivated vaccines outside of areas subject to animal movement restrictions.

Speaking during the debate Mr Aylward stated:

“The disease causes intense suffering and often death among the affected animals and has a measurable negative impact on the rural economy and the farming community.”

“While the number of outbreaks of Bluetongue has fallen significantly across Europe in recent years, due to the effective combination of vaccinations and restrictions, the threat of an outbreak remains”

Under the previous Directive, “live attenuated” vaccines were only permitted in specially designated zones where the disease occurred and which were subject to animal movement restrictions.

However, new inactivated vaccines have recently become available and do not pose the risk of undesired vaccine virus circulation and could therefore be successfully used outside areas subject to animal movement restrictions.

“The use of the inactivated vaccination in controlling and eventually eradicating disease will result in reduced economical losses and will be of benefit to the European livestock sector, while not negating the disease free status of Member States where an outbreak has not occurred.”