Blanket blue tongue restrictions placing impossible burden on farmers - Jim Allister

An impossible burden is being placed on farmers by these ‘out of season’ blue tongue blanket restrictions, TUV MLA Jim Allister has warned.
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Mr Allister said he has again, this week, pressed the minister for action following another farmer raising the ‘punitive effect’ of the current blanket blue tongue restrictions.

Bluetongue has been identified in ruminants in Kent and Norfolk where there have been 101 confirmed cases across 56 different premises.

In his letter Mr Allister outlined the case of a Northern Ireland farmer who has been unable to bring livestock home from Scotland for the past three months.

TUV  leader Jim  AllisterTUV  leader Jim  Allister
TUV leader Jim Allister

The farmer told Mr Allister: “In November I bought 25 heifers and a pedigree bull in Scotland at Castle Douglas Premier Sale. They were due home on the 18th of December but due to Bluetongue restrictions this did not happen and I am paying £1700 a month to keep them over there. This has now been on going for three months and it is an expense I cannot afford at the minute.

"Also the business keeping the stock has informed me that they are not liable for any injury or death to the cattle during this time. Understandably I am extremely concerned as there seems to have been no indication as to what is going to happen going forward. I would appreciate if you could give this matter immediate attention as this is an everyday additional expense that is not factored in to the original purchase or everyday running of the farm through this difficult time.”Mr Allister told the MInister: “You will note these cattle were purchased in Scotland hundreds of miles away from the affected area. So, I repeat, why can the restrictions not be proportionate to the risk and limited to cattle from the area at risk?“I implore you to revisit this issue rather than pursue to an unworkable and damaging dogma.”