Belarus restricts Lithuanian cattle imports

By Carina Perkins

- Last updated on GMT

Schmallenberg is spreading across Eastern Europe
Schmallenberg is spreading across Eastern Europe

Related tags Russia European union Lithuania Beef Lamb

Belarus has temporarily restricted the import of cattle and small ruminants from Lithuania, due to outbreaks of the Schmallenberg virus, officials have reported.

A report from the Department of Veterinary and Food Control at the Ministry of Agriculture and Food of Belarus stated: “According to information available to the Department, animals have tested positive for the Schmallenberg virus in Lithuania. Belarus has therefore imposed temporary restrictions on imports from the country and the transit of domestic and wild cattle and small ruminants from Lithuania, as well as genetic material from these species.”

The representatives of the veterinary service also noted that the Schmallenberg virus has recently spread to Eastern Europe and has got very close to the borders of the Customs Union. As a result, veterinary services in both Russia and Belarus have decided to step up scientific studies of the virus.

The press-secretary of Russian veterinary watchdog, Rosselkhoznadzor, said: “Rosselkhoznadzor, together with French colleagues, plans to create a joint research group for the comprehensive study of the risk factors associated with the spread of a dangerous pathogen in Europe – the Schmallenberg virus in cattle.

“Monitoring the spread of the disease will allow us to create an evaluation system of the associated risks and how to manage them.”

According to experts, adopting joint measures to combat any future spread of the disease will help to lift the restrictions imposed by the Customs Union on the supply of meat products from the EU in recent months.

Since 1 May 2013, exports of domestic and wild cattle and small ruminants from the EU to the Russian Federation have been permitted only under certain conditions. Russia has also banned imports from a number of Central European countries where the virus has become particularly widespread.

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