New warning over disease

BLUETONGUE could already be lurking in herds of dairy cattle across the area, the owner of the under-siege Baylham House rare breeds farm warned today.

BLUETONGUE could already be lurking in herds of dairy cattle across the area, the owner of the under-siege Baylham House rare breeds farm warned today.

Dick Storer revealed that a second cow to be infected with the disease had shown no symptoms before tests came back positive yesterday morning.

Lorraine, an Old Gloucester, was put down straight away and Mr Storer said: “Lorraine had nothing wrong with her. This could be all over the place with no one knowing about it.”

Mr Storer said his family had been overwhelmed by messages of support and sympathy since the news about the bluetongue crisis broke at the weekend.

He said: “We have had lots of e-mails and messages of support. I have had 50 I have been unable to reply to at the moment - they have come from all over the world, from South Africa and France.”

He was preparing to put up a new message on the farm's website thanking people for their support at this difficult time and pledging to reopen its gates to the public as soon as possible.

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“Once all the livestock is checked there is no reason why we cannot reopen - there is no danger to the public from this disease,” he said.

Officials from the government's Department of the Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) were having to check all the livestock on the farm, and that was a laborious task.

“We have 170 sheep, then there are goats, cattle, and three alpacas. They all have to be tested and that takes time.”

Mr Storer praised the work of the DEFRA officials and the police, although he said some of the political decisions at the top had been rather vague in the first instance.

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