The European Commission (EC) condemned Russia’s decision to ban livestock imports from Europe on Tuesday following the spread there of the highly virulent Schmallenberg and Bluetongue viruses.
Russia imposed a temporary ban on Tuesday on imports of livestock from all EU countries, saying the country’s veterinary watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor had not yet received detailed information from the European Union concerning measures taken to contain the viruses, and the results of related scientific research.
The EC said the ban imposed by Moscow was groundless and unjustified on the basis of the present scientific data and international standards, including the norms of the World Trade Organization.
European scientists think the Schmallenberg virus poses no risks to human health and have imposed no restrictions on the meat trade and cattle transportation, the EC added.
Schmallenberg virus, named after the German city where it was first identified in August 2011, is spread by blood-sucking insects. The infection causes fever, gastrointestinal disorders, miscarriages and and a sharp drop in milk production.
Bluetongue is an insect-borne disease among ruminants, mainly sheep, which causes excessive salivation, swelling of the face and tongue and cyanosis of the tongue.