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Brucellosis initiative for South Armagh would be welcomed by all farmers

4 February, 2008

Sinn Féin Slieve Gullion area Councillor Terry Hearty reacting to speculation that the Minister of Agriculture Michelle Gildernew was considering a scheme to eradicate Brucellosis from cattle has said that such an initiative would be welcome.

Cllr Hearty said:

"Speculation is that this initiative would be on a 'pilot' basis and it would involve the speedier slaughtering out of herds to remove infection. This type of scheme has been successfully carried out in the twenty six counties.

"While the annual herd incidence of Brucellosis in the north has been reducing since 2002, the disease has remained in more than half a per cent of herds for the past two years.

"When Minister Michelle Gildernew met with local farmers in Ti Chulainn before Christmas last year, she was left in no doubt that many local farmers feel that the authorities have been far too slow in removing animals that are reactors or inconclusive in the test. The Minister to be fair stated that she would reflect on what she had heard and I welcome the prospects of this initiative which should go a long way in tackling the serious issue.

"I shared the hope of all involved in the industry that monies can be made available to enable the Minister to launch the scheme as soon as possible." ENDS

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