Farmers are facing an anxious wait after the arrival over the weekend of the deadly, insect-borne, blue tongue virus.

With a fear that the disease could spread across the nation in days, the already beleaguered farmers are facing an up-hill struggle against this new threat.

Although harmless to humans, this virus has killed cattle, goats, sheep and deer across Europe for the past decade, and there is currently no cure and no vaccine authorised for use in Britain.

For the past summer the countryside has rarely been out the press – foot and mouth being the primary reason. But now, with this new danger, it appears there will be no respite, for the foreseeable anyway.

It is, however, indicative of the resolve of the countryside community that we will continue to fight on and do whatever is necessary to curtail this threat.

Although deer are not the most affected, it is worthwhile for the stalking community to keep a close eye on the situation – BASC have regular updates on the situation at www.basc.org.uk – and keep up to speed.

However, this is not a confirmed outbreak unless further investigation demonstrates that disease is circulating, and this could take days or weeks to assess.

Let us hope that DEFRA take the appropriate steps and do their duty to the rural community.