EU imposes livestock export ban on Belgium
22 August 2006, BRUSSELS — The EU imposed a ban on Monday on the export of livestock from Belgium in response to the outbreak of the bluetongue disease.
22 August 2006
BRUSSELS — The EU imposed a ban on Monday on the export of livestock from Belgium in response to the outbreak of the bluetongue disease.
The only area in Belgium to escape the ban was the west of the country, newspaper 'De Morgen' reported.
The ban was not unexpected, however, and prior to the meeting of EU agricultural experts, the only question unanswered was extent of the ban.
And despite the export ban, livestock can still be slaughtered. This means the financial damage to the livestock industry will be restricted.
However, the livestock industry is still expected to incur a loss of EUR 1.8 million per week while the export ban is in place.
If the federal government decides to cull the animals infected with the bluetongue disease — which is not yet the case — farmers will be paid compensation.
The promise of compensation was announced by Health Minister Rudy Demotte, newspaper 'De Standaard' reported.
The outbreak of bluetongue disease in Belgium was confirmed over the weekend. The disease has also been found in Germany in recent days.
The Netherlands was the first to confirm the outbreak last week. It imposed an immediate livestock export ban after the disease was found in farms around the city of Kerkrade.
Belgium and Germany did not initially impose an export ban, but Monday's EU decision overrides that decision.
Bluetongue is an insect-borne viral disease affecting all species of ruminant, although sheep are most severely affected. It is usually found in the area around the Mediterranean.
Stock losses of 30 to 40 percent among sheep can be recorded, but the disease does not pose a risk to human health.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news