Hutton seeks farmer views on return of bluetongue risk

Researchers from The James Hutton Institute in Aberdeen want to hear from livestock farmers about the risk of bluetongue disease in Great Britain to help shape how to deal with it.

The country had been free of the notifiable insect-borne viral disease that affects sheep, cattle and other ruminants until recently, but new cases were recorded in late 2023 and early 2024.

The UK’s Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has confirmed that there is a very high probability of a new introduction of the virus into England, Wales and Scotland as we enter summer season.

Higher temperatures and rainfall create conditions favourable to the biting midges that spread the disease, which means livestock may be more at risk, with vets and farmers being warned to be extremely vigilant by the UK’s Chief Vet.

The Hutton’s researchers want to hear from sheep and cattle keepers about this emerging risk to help them assess any assess and inform policy makers in decision making when dealing with the disease, which does not affect humans or food safety.

They have devised a short anonymous survey (about 10 minutes long), with £5 to be donated to a choice of farming charity for each completed survey.

Access the survey here.

Luing cattle. Photo by Scot Ramsay, The James Hutton Institute.
Photo by Scot Ramsay, The James Hutton Institute.

The work is being funded by the Scottish Government through Scotland’s Centre of Expertise on Animal Disease Outbreaks, EPIC

Elaine Maslin, Media Officer, The James Hutton Institute, tel: +44 (0)1224 395076 or +44 (0)7977 805808.