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Gildernew consults on draft all-island animal health welfare strategy

13 March, 2008


Sinn Féin Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew MP, MLA has launched a consultation on an All-Island Animal Health and Welfare Strategy.

Launching the Consultation the Minister said:

"Since becoming Minister, the development of an All-Island Animal Health and Welfare Strategy has been one of my key priorities. I believe this is a vitally important matter for our farmers, as full co-operation on animal health issues on the island of Ireland has the very real potential to help reduce and prevent animal disease spread.

"The draft All-Island Animal Health and Welfare Strategy, which has been developed by my officials in conjunction with officials in the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and Food in Dublin, sets out the high degree of co-operation to date on a range of animal health and welfare issues. It provides the strategic framework for future co-operation through a number of working groups set up under the auspices of the North South Ministerial Council, to look at different aspects of animal health and welfare.

"I believe that the ultimate objectives of North South co-operation should be to facilitate trade through the freer movement of animals and to optimise the animal health status of the island through alignment of policies to control animal disease.

"Co-operation is key to us meeting these objectives. It was a high level of co-operation that laid the groundwork last year for an agreed all-island approach to the Foot and Mouth Disease, Bluetongue and Avian Influenza outbreaks in Britain and to the recent events in North Antrim.

"Given the importance of this issue, I would encourage key stakeholders to consider the draft strategy, and the framework it provides for further co-operation on animal health and welfare policy on the island, and to let my department have your views." ENDS

Note to Editors

The draft Strategy can be accessed online at: http://www.dardni.gov.uk/index/consultations/active-consultations.htm. The consultation will run until 4 June 2008.

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