BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Sunday, 30 December 2007, 22:18 GMT
Call for bluetongue export review
Richard Lochhead
Mr Lochhead called for EU changes to prevent diseases spreading
Scotland's environment secretary wants an urgent review of EU export controls on bluetongue-susceptible animals to stop the virus spreading.

Richard Lochhead, speaking after the first case in the country, warned Scotland's livestock industry could "pay a heavy price" without changes.

On Friday it emerged one of 35 cattle imported from a German farm was found to have the virus in post-import tests.

Movement restrictions have been imposed on the farm in Dumfries and Galloway.

The Scottish government said that as the infected animal had been imported, the case does not affect Scotland's "free area" status.

But the animal, which is on a farm near Kirkcudbright, will be culled to minimise the risk of disease spreading.

Over the last three weeks, three consignments of animals transported to the UK from bluetongue restricted zones in Europe have tested positive for the virus
Richard Lochhead
Environment secretary

Mr Lochhead said he had written to his Westminster counterpart, Hilary Benn, asking him to commit to obtaining a review of existing safeguards and to work with the European Union to tighten export rules.

Mr Lochhead warned there were "serious questions" about the current EU rules designed to prevent infection spreading to disease-free areas.

"Over the last three weeks, three consignments of animals transported to the UK from bluetongue restricted zones in Europe have tested positive for the virus," he said.

The minister said it is "absolutely vital" that a "robust regime" for the management of the virus was in place and that "lessons from these incidents are learnt at EU level".

Mr Lochead also pointed out that there was no evidence that the disease was circulating, stressing that the case in Kirkcudbright was isolated.

The remaining 34 imported animals tested negative for bluetongue virus which is a non-contagious, midge-borne viral disease.





FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific