Bluetongue disease halts Romania’s live cattle, sheep exports to EU

By Jaroslaw Adamowski, in Warsaw

- Last updated on GMT

The sole exception of the ban is for animals intended for immediate slaughter
The sole exception of the ban is for animals intended for immediate slaughter

Related tags Romania Beef Lamb Livestock

The Romanian government has decided to halt exports of live cattle and sheep to the EU following the outbreak of bluetongue disease in a number of the country’s counties.

Tanczos Barna, the secretary of the Romanian Senate Commission on Agriculture and a senator for the country’s UDMR party, said the latest restriction represented a "hard blow"​ to local breeders, and it could spur conflicts among EU member states, local news agency Mediafax reported.

The ban was officially introduced by the country’s National Sanitary and Veterinary Authority for the Safety of Food (ANSVSA). The sole exception is made for animals intended for immediate slaughter.

According to figures released by the ANSVSA on 14 October, to date, a total of 1,895 animals from 158 municipalities have been affected by the disease, of which 384 have died. The highest number of affected animals was reported in the country’s Valcea county, at 607, followed by Buzau, with 259 animals affected, and Gorj and Prahova, with 244 and 162 instances, respectively.

However, this represented only 0.02% of the municipalities’ total livestock of more than 7.68 million, the agency said in a statement. The data from the agency features 26 counties and 254 municipalities.

The first animal affected with bluetongue was detected by Romanian authorities this August.

Earlier this year, imports of Romanian livestock were also banned in Russia, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. The latter country introduced a ban on imports of Romanian cattle and sheep following reports by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) on 69 instances of animals affected by bluetongue in Romania.

Prior to the halt, Jordan had been importing between 300,000 and 400,000 head of cattle and sheep per year from Romania-based entities, which made the country the second-largest exporter of meat to the Jordanian market, according to figures released by Jordan’s Ministry of Agriculture.

Bluetongue is an insect-borne viral disease to which all species of ruminants are susceptible, according to the OIE. Experts said the disease posed no danger to human health.

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