French cattle farmers no longer have to vaccinate their cattle against the disease bluetongue.
Given the unstoppable spread of the disease across the country and a shortage of the vaccine to vaccinate all animals, the whole of France is now designated as a regulated zone for bluetongue 4 and 8. This means that transport of livestock is allowed without restrictions in the whole country.
“The goal to eliminate the disease is unachievable, particularly because there are not enough vaccines available to vaccinate all cattle in newly regulated areas before the new season in which the midges (the vectors for the disease) become active,” according to the national organisation for livestock and plant diseases CNOPSAV. The organisation responds partly to new reports of bluetongue 4 and 8 from regions that were not infected so far, such as Haute-Savoie in the east of France.
Farmers can choose to vaccinate their animals voluntarily and to pay this themselves. Separate rules apply for cattle intended for export. The Ardeche province, one of the affected regions, says in a statement ‘that the restrictions on livestock transport are very costly, both socially and economically, and thus are difficult to accept.’