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