The UK team of Holsteins due to take part in next week’s European championships in Libramont, Belgium, have withdrawn from the show.
Following discussions with the UK team exhibitors, Holstein UK have decided that the risk in attending the event had become too high following a recent bluetongue outbreak in Belgium.
Belgium was moved into a restricted area on Wednesday 27 March with four confirmed cases of the BTV8 strain of bluetongue within very close proximity to the event venue.
Sue Cope, Holstein UK CEO, said it was ‘a devastating decision’ to have to make. She added: “I have the greatest sympathy with the UK team as I know how much time and effort has gone into getting these animals ready for the show.
"It was always going to be a challenge to get the team there and the exhibitors have worked with Holstein UK and the veterinary advisors very closely to make sure the animals met all the strict health conditions of the Belgium animal health authorities.”
Bluetongue has been creeping through Europe over the last few months and despite aggressive efforts by a number of parties to get hold of the BTV4 and BTV8 vaccine throughout the end of last year and this year this it has proved impossible. Despite the Animal Plant and Health agency issuing the UK team licenses to import the vaccine due to the unavailability in the UK the increased demand in Europe for the vaccine meant retailers and exporters of the vaccine were unable to supply the UK with the required doses.
The two Holstein Young Breeders Jonny Woodhouse & Robert Morley will still be heading out to Belgium to compete in the young breeder competition and we wish them the greatest of success.
The event will take place on April 12-13.