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Extension of Temporary Import Controls

6 March, 2008


The Executive has agreed that import controls in relation to Bluetongue Disease are to be extended for up to a further week from today.

As a result of the new emerging scientific evidence, the European Commission at meetings in Brussels on 4 and 5 March, have reviewed and amended the Bluetongue Regulation (1266/2007) to strengthen movement controls in respect of pregnant animals from Bluetongue restricted zones. These detailed amendments should come into effect in the near future.

The Department is currently considering the detail of the draft legislative text and is reviewing the suspension of imports in light of the amended controls proposed. It will decide over the coming days what action is required as a result.

On Thursday 28 February, the Executive decided, following representations from Michelle Gildernew MP MLA Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, to impose emergency controls on imports of female cattle over 12 months and female sheep over six months from Bluetongue restricted zones as a temporary and precautionary measure. The import controls, which came into effect on Saturday 1 March, have now been extended until 13 March.

The Department emphasised that this is a temporary and precautionary suspension, prompted by emerging science following the case of Bluetongue in animals imported to a North Antrim farm that indicates that Bluetongue Disease can be transmitted from cows to calves.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

  1. Any outstanding specific import licences for Breeding and Production animals from Britain have been revoked with effect from 1800 hours on Saturday 1 March 2008. Any importers wishing to import Breeding and Production animals from Britain should contact DARD Trade Section on 028 9052 4664 to obtain a revised licence.
  2. The import controls were from 1800 hours on Saturday 1 March, for a limited period up to the 6 March, to protect animal health and welfare. These have now been extended for a further week.

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