Gildernew consults on new Animal Diseases Bill
Sinn Féin Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew MP MLA, has launched a consultation on proposed new measures to prevent and control animal and poultry diseases.
The Bill will enable stricter enforcement checks at ports, compulsory biosecurity measures at all livestock premises and contingency measures to swiftly contain and eradicate disease outbreaks. The deadline for responses is 21 March 2008.
Outlining the background to the proposals, the Minister said:
"We are all aware of the ongoing threat posed by diseases such as Foot and Mouth, Blue Tongue and Avian Influenza. I want to make sure that we have effective measures in place to protect our livestock industry from the introduction and spread of these diseases.
"If the worst happens and a disease outbreak did occur we need to have a full range of powers available to us to deal with that outbreak quickly and decisively. Particularly to minimise the impact on the agri food industry and protect vital export markets."
The Minister also detailed progress on an all-island health strategy. She said:
"I am working closely with Minister Coughlan in the South to develop an All Island Animal Health and Welfare Strategy. The Bill proposals will help underpin this Strategy by providing the legal controls needed to develop robust animal and poultry disease control plans."
The Minister concluded the launch of the Bill, saying:
"This new Bill will also look to the future in areas where our policies can maximise use of the latest scientific and research developments, such as electronic identification. This is a very important consultation and I would encourage all stakeholders to consider the draft Bill and let my Department have your views on any aspect of the proposals."
The consultation can be accessed online at:
http://www.dardni.gov.uk/index/consultations/active-consultations.htm and will run from 7 January until 21 March 2008.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
Hard copies of the Consultation documents and copies in other formats, e.g. large print, Braille disc, audiocassette and other languages, can also be obtained from:
Department of Agriculture and Rural Development
Animal Health and Welfare Policy Division
Belfast BT4 3SB.
Tel: 028 905 24658
Fax: 028 905 24030
E-mail: [email protected]
Responses should be made to Jennifer Corkey at the above address. The deadline for replies to the consultation is 21 March 2008.