The National Farmers' Union has called for a ban on the import of animals from bluetongue protection zones in Northern Europe after a second case of the virus in imported animals was confirmed in less than a week.

Defra confirmed bluetongue had been detected in 20 imported cows on a farm near Worcester. They originated from within a bluetongue protection zone in the Netherlands.

Earlier this week, bluetongue was detected in a cow on a farm near Middlesbrough, imported from a protection zone in Lower Saxony, Germany.

“This is the second time in a week that animals infected with bluetongue have been imported,” said an NFU spokesman. “Until such time as arrangements are in place to prevent this sort of thing happening, the only safe course of action is to ban all imports of livestock from the bluetongue infected areas.”

“British livestock farmers have put up with huge disruption and inconvenience in order to contain the disease and we cannot allow our sacrifice to be undermined by disease being spread far and wide by infected animals imported from abroad.”