Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill has attended the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between industry-led animal health bodies. Animal Health and Welfare NI and Animal Health Ireland have been set up to tacklediseases that impact on trade and competitiveness and that are not subject to national control programmes.
Speaking after the signing of the MOU, which sets out reciprocal arrangements on control programmes for BVD and Johne’s Disease, the Minister said:
“I welcome the increasing desire within industry to tackle diseases that at farm level can have a significant impact on trade and competitiveness.”
“I firmly believe that taking an all-island approach to tackling such diseases will help support trade throughout the island.
Commending the industry approach, the Minister concluded:
“This is positive action that demonstrates strong leadership and commitment and is an excellent example of working in partnership. I am encouraged to hear that private investment is being sought to support the approach in the north of Ireland and I remain keen for my Department to help get this initiative off the ground.
“I have therefore agreed in principle, subject to economic appraisal, to support the contributions committed to AHWNI by industry stakeholders during the start up period. I understand that AHWNI’s strategic plan, which will detail the key milestones and costings and the requirement for Departmental support, is now at an advanced stage. I look forward to seeing the strategic plan and to engaging further with industry as this work is progressed.”