Calls For Schmallenberg Vaccine

There are calls for a vaccine for the deadly Schmallenberg virus as Devon is revealed to have the most cases of the disease that affects sheep and cattle

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Calls for Schmallenberg vaccine: full report

A farmer from Somerset has told us if his lambs catch the Schmellennberg virus then his life as a farmer will be over.

Sam Staples says he's struggling to make a living as it is, with the value of lamb dropping dramatically in recent months.

If the virus does appear on his farm, then he won't get a penny in compensation. He told our reporter Tanya Mercer, if the worst happens, then he'll be ruined:

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Calls for virus vaccine fast, as still births and deformities increase

The NFU is calling for a Schmallenberg virus vaccine fast Credit: CARSTENĂ‚ REHDER

As sheep farmers in the region experience higher than normal losses, still births and deformities, the NFU says every effort must be made to ensure a vaccine is available later this year to help combat the spread of the deadly Schmallenberg virus.

The disease has spread across England and Wales to the Scottish border region, and has now been confirmed on more than 1,000 UK farms.

Although it is still being recognised by Defra and the European Commission as 'low impact' on a national scale, the cost for individual businesses can run into thousands of pounds.

It comes at the same time as lamb prices have hit their lowest level for three years and livestock producers are facing rising production costs due to the extreme weather in 2012.

Vaccine calls for deadly farm virus

The Schmallenberg virus affects unborn lambs Credit: ITV News

Devon's farms have more cases of the deadly Schmallenberg virus than any other county - 130 overall.

The disease causes stillbirths and birth defects in sheep and cattle and is carried through insects. There have also been nearly 70 cases in Cornwall.

The National Farmers Union says it's vital that a vaccine is made available this year.

Lambs suffer as Schmallenberg virus hits Devon

Up to 50% of lambs in early-lambing flocks in Devon are arriving stillborn Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Archive

Dozens of sheep on farms across Devon have given birth to deformed or dead lambs due to the Schmallenberg virus.

As lambing gets under way it's thought hundreds of lambs in the area will either born dead or badly deformed and will have to be put down.

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