The Schmallenberg virus has been confirmed at 147 farms in Cornwall and Devon, according to DEFRA’s latest figures.

The disease, which leads to livestock being stillborn, has been discovered on more than 1,200 farms in the UK, with a 24 per cent rise in cases in the past month.

But DEFRA and the European Commission are still classifying the disease as “low impact”. The National Farmers Union has called for efforts to ensure that a vaccine is available later this year.

There have been concerns that the virus could affect the UK’s wild and farmed deer population. Peter Green, the British Deer Society (BDS) vet, said: “The Schmallenberg virus is very similar to several strains that have been seen in Africa, where it appears that only domestic stock is affected. The BDS hopes the same is true of the European strain with regard to deer.

The rest of this article appears in the 23rd January issue of Shooting Times.

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