The Blue Tongue vaccination campaign was launched yesterday with teams of vets across Majorca and Minorca administering the first of some 400'000 vaccines which have been imported from South Africa in a bid to end the outbreak of the virus which has claimed the lives of thousands of sheep on both islands and brought the local sheep industry to its knees. In Minorca 13 teams of vets started the job of vaccinating the 10'000 sheep which have not shown signs of being infected by the virus. Of the 14'000 head of sheep on the island, 2'000 have been killed by the virus and a further 2'000 have been slaughtered, but the agriculture departments want to wipe the virus out completely. The rest of the 40 teams have been deployed across Majorca, some administering the vaccine and others continuing with the slaughter of affected animals. The vaccination is compulsory and all vaccinated animals will be marked. The Ministry for Agriculture wants to complete the campaign as quickly as possible and set about assessing the compensation claims from farmers who have been severely hit by export bans and a drop in consumer confidence in local lamb. Local supermarkets have been importing Welsh lamb to meet demand.

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