United Kingdom-More warnings over Bluetongue.

Farmers are in a race against time to protect East Yorkshire from a worrying livestock disease.

Livestock producers are being urged to vaccinate every animal against bluetongue disease in the run-up to the grazing season.

Tens of thousands of cattle and sheep will soon be moved out to pastures around the area, including Beverley Westwood.

And the onset of warmer weather increases the risk of infection as the midges that carry the disease become more active.

The alert comes after it was revealed only 65 per cent of East Yorkshire farmers vaccinated animals against bluetongue last year.

The Joint Campaign Against Bluetongue (Jab) has launched a new appeal to protect livestock as more supplies of vaccine come on the market.

The campaign group involves all of the livestock, meat and veterinary organisations, including the National Farmers’ Union (NFU).

Beef farmer John Gatenby, of the York East NFU, said: "Last year, we were very fortunate not to see a re-emergence of the bluetongue virus in the UK.

"France reported a dramatic increase in new cases throughout the year, so we can’t over-emphasise the threat that still hangs over us from this disease.

Bluetongue, which affects cattle, sheep, goats and deer, is passed from animal to animal by the biting midges, which are most active in warm weather.

Jab said vaccination remained the only effective tool to protect susceptible animals and farmers should vaccinate as soon as possible.

So far in England there have been 137 cases of bluetongue which, at its worst, kills both cattle and sheep.