Laura Sandys, MP for South Thanet, is calling for a ban on the transportation of all livestock to and from the UK following the outbreak of Schmallenberg Virus. The virus appears to be spread through midges and so transporting animals back and forth across the Channel must increase the likelihood of these midges being carried on animals and spreading the disease.
Laura said: ‘We already have confirmed cases of Schmallenberg Virus in the UK and it has been found in France, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. The Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency have said that the counties in the South-East of England are most are risk and whilst the virus does not appear to affect humans, I feel that there is a very strong need for us to mitigate the proliferation of the virus.
‘Yesterday, the Minister acknowledged that a year ago we had not even heard of this virus. There are so many unknowns at present; there is no treatment or preventative vaccine available, nor are we are clear on how the virus is being transmitted. We are also still researching the level of infection in and between groups and whether or not an animal with the virus will be permanently affected. With such uncertainty about how the infection could spread I am calling for all international transportation of live animals to cease immediately.’
Schmallenberg Virus (SBV) was detected in late summer last year and has been found to cause birth defects in cattle, sheep and goats as well as affecting the productivity of adult cattle.