Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Friday 25 January 2013

'Schmallenberg virus to hit UK milk production'

The above title is taken from an article published today in the website of Farmers Weekly. As the article points out, this malady is not 'reportable' so whilst farmers are 'encouraged' to do so, they are not obliged to, so the 1,000 cases reported across England and Wales may 'be the tip of the iceberg'. The disease 'causes deformed and stillborn calves and lambs'.

Although the article does not mention that any cases have been reported so far in Scotland, who can say whether lack of such reports means that no cases have occurred here so far, given that the diease is not 'reportable'? I mention this only because there is a major milk product distribution (and perhaps only temporarily renewed processing) facility here and one wonders whether the problems with UK milk production mentioned by the linked article as a possible consequence of this dieases will have an impact on farms and milk processors locally. Hopefully not.

Another article in Farmers Weekly earlier this month has more details of the apparent impact of the disease on sheep production. A little more research has thrown up a number of other articles mentioning this disease in the DEFRA website (here) and on the BBC website (here and just a couple of weeks ago here), although I do not think it has [yet] crossed over into mainstream television reporting (i.e. national news bulletins).

I suppose I am hoping that the impact of this disease will mean that it does not affect dramatically local economies in my area or more widely throughout the country. However, it appears from what I have been reading that this is quite a recently-identified livestock virus widely spread across Europe (see DEFRA article linked above). Developments awaited anxiously.

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