National Beef Association
For everyone with an interest in the British beef industry


26th November 2008

Category: Cattle Export


Blue Tongue Virus – Buyers must be cautious when importing livestock into the UK:

All breeders and livestock agents must take precautions if they intend to import livestock into the UK from Europe.

Because there are a number of different BTV strains circulating around countries in Europe and it is the industries responsibility not to introduce a new strain of BTV or bring animals into the UK that could be positive for BTV8.  

As a precautionary measure, importers should make sure animals are vaccinated against BTV8 infection and as an additional measure, to check the animals are not positive for circulating disease before they are imported, a PCR test should be completed either 35 days after vaccination or just before the animals are to be imported into Britain. 

Although this is not an official requirement for animals moving within a protection zone for BTV8, any animal that arrives in Britain, which are subsequently found to be positive for BTV8, endangers all the animals standing on holding, as well as all neighboring herds and will introduce the virus into local midges and this is unacceptable.   

Any animal imported into Britain and then found to be positive for another BTV strain, for example 1, 4, or 6, etc, will be slaughtered, possibly at the owner’s expense and without compensation for the animal(s).   

Livestock can only move into Britain from another BTV8 protection zone (or restriction zone) in Europe.  Livestock can not move into Britain from a protection zone for another BTV strain, for example strain 1 or strain 6, unless they meet the conditions of Annex three of the EU Legislation, which are very difficult to meet.

Animals can only move from the British BTV8 protection zone to Ireland, north or south, if the animals are vet vaccinated and certified.   The animals can move after 60 days of vaccination or 35 days after a PCR test.   Unvaccinated cattle can not move to Ireland for slaughter