Smith Welcomes EU Movement on Bluetongue Control

19 November 2008
Scotland's only full member of the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee has today (Wednesday) welcomed moves by the European Commission to tighten movement restrictions in the wake of confirmation that a new strain of Bluetongue Virus has been confirmed in the Netherlands.

Smith has also requested an urgent meeting with Commissioner Vassiliou in order to pass on the findings of the recent Royal Society of Edinburgh report which found that EU policy must change as it is currently making Bluetongue control more difficult.

Smith said:

"When we heard week before last of suspicions of a new BTV strain in the Netherlands my heart sank. Today's confirmation underlines the fact that the entire EU exotic disease regime must be looked at again because while Bluetongue is, with good reason, at the forefront of our minds there are plenty of other diseases out there and I'm not convinced our disease management system will cope.

"The Royal Society of Edinburgh's paper on this topic was timely and I have already sent it to the Commission, though we need to be ahead of the game on this and there is a clear need to change the zoning of areas when vaccination programmes are undertaken. There is a lot of expertise theCommission can call on to reform the regime and I'm delighted Scots scientists are so to the fore."