Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Saturday 10 December 2016

Animal health strategy making good progress

Declan O'Brien

Published 13/04/2010 | 05:00

TOP BRASS: Minister Brendan Smith (right) joins EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy John Dalli (left) and Northern
Ireland Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew MLA at the All-Island Animal Health and Welfare conference in Co Cavan yesterday.
TOP BRASS: Minister Brendan Smith (right) joins EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy John Dalli (left) and Northern Ireland Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew MLA at the All-Island Animal Health and Welfare conference in Co Cavan yesterday.

A new All-island Animal Health and Welfare Strategy will facilitate the free movement of animals throughout Ireland, Agriculture Minister Brendan Smith has claimed.

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Speaking at an animal health conference in Co Cavan, Mr Smith said drafting of legislation to govern the new measurewas progressing well.

"The ultimate objective is to have policies and arrangements in place that will facilitate the free movement of animals on the island," Mr Smith said.

Existing legislation will be updated to ensure that the welfare of all animals, including non-farm animals, is properly protected and that the penalties for offenders are increased significantly, the minister confirmed.

Referring to specific animal health issues, Mr Smith identified the granting of official 'brucellosis-free' status for Ireland last August, as well as the significant progress made towards the objective of officially eradicating Aujeszky's disease from the national pig herd, as major landmark achievements.

This week the EU confirmed that Ireland had reached Annex II status in terms of eradication of Aujeszky's disease.

"Following two national testing phases we are now at the stage where Aujeszky's disease has been practically eliminated from Ireland," Mr Smith said.

"The objective of our Aujeszky's Disease Control and Eradication Programme is to officially eradicate Aujeszky's disease from the national pig herd.

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"Attaining Annex II status is a very significant checkpoint in meeting this objective, and it is a clear demonstration of the progress we have made and of the commitment shown by all concerned," he added.

Detailed testing arrangements for Phase Three of the programme, which the minister announced in early March, are now being finalised, and herd-owners will receive notification to test in the coming weeks.

"All necessary resources for this phase of the programme, which will be implemented by the Department's local office in Ballybay, have been put in place," the minister insisted.

"The official elimination of Aujeszky's disease from the national pig herds will be of significant benefit to the whole Irish pig sector by recognising the health standard of the national herd, by protecting our access to export markets and by allowing Ireland to exploit new market opportunities."

Irish Independent



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