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REPORT: Schmallenberg vaccine released

It's a vaccine to combat a disease that causes severe birth defects and miscarriages in livestock - and it is going on sale in Britain for the first time.

It's welcome news for the region's farmers who've become increasingly concerned about the spread of the Schmallenberg virus in cattle and sheep. Latest figures showed more than 1,500 cases of it across the country.

Penny Silvester speaks to farmer David Barber, John Fishwick from Royal Veterinary College and Alick Simmons Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer.

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Schmallenberg virus 'devastated our flocks'

Sheep on a farm in Oxfordshire Credit: ITV News Meridian

Farmers have told ITV News Meridian that anything which can prevent the spread of the Schmallenberg virus would be very welcome because the disease 'devastated livestock in the South'.

At the beginning of this year more than 50 farms across the Meridian regions were reporting symptoms of the virus.

ITV News reporter Penny Silvester speaks to farmers about the devastating impact of Schmallenberg Credit: ITV News Meridian

New vaccine to stop Schmallenberg virus

Farmers in the South and South East say they are optimistic that a new vaccine will help stop the spread of a deadly disease which causes severe birth defects and miscarriages in livestock.

Schmallenberg virus, which emerged in the Netherlands and Germany in 2011 and has been seen in cattle and sheep in the UK since early 2012, has been identified on more than 1,700 farms across the country.

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  1. Malcolm Shaw

Sheep attack farmers say 'Keep dogs on leads'

Farmers on the South Downs are asking dog owners to keep their pets on their leads when they are around sheep, after a number of serious attacks.

At this time of year, many ewes are pregnant and may miscarry their lambs if they feel stressed. Police are warning the dog owners that they could face prosecution if their animals are out of control around livestock. Malcolm Shaw reports.

The interviewees are: Tim Armour, a farmer; and Jan Knowlson - a ranger for the South Downs National Park.

Pig farmer's anger at 'poor standards' of EU competitors

Many years ago pig farmers in Britain spent a fortune on improving animal welfare standards because EU laws demanded it.

Now it turns out that many farmers in Europe failed to do the same. It meant their pork was cheaper and British farmers lost out.

So what's the EU going to do to force European farmers to adopt the standards it recommended 14 years ago?

David Johns reports and speaks to pig farmer David Brown from Meopham, Richard Ashworth MEP and butcher Ian Chatfield. Video footage courtesy of Animal Aid and the EU.

How will farm floods affect our weekly shop?

Last year's record rainfall destroyed millions of pounds worth of crops on our farms. There are fears that this year's harvests could also be severely reduced, triggering food price rises.

The Met Office says we could be facing ten years of increasing rainfall. Fred spoke to Richard Dodd from the British Retail Consortium earlier - and asked him how all this will affect our weekly shop.

  1. John Ryall

Food price alert after rains

There are warnings that we will all have to pay a little more for our food at supermarkets over the coming year because of last year's heavy rainfall.

The bad weather had a severe impact on farming with the rain destroying millions of pounds of crops in the South-east alone, leaving behind fears that this year's _harvests could be largely reduced, triggering shortages of some foods.

Farmers are being warned that they need to develop new growing methods - or face the problems, financial and otherwise that could follow more bad weather. John Ryall reports.

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