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Gildernew confirms tighter Bluetongue controls are in place

8 May, 2008


Sinn Féin Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew MP, MLA has confirmed that tighter import controls are being implemented with immediate effect on bluetongue susceptible animals.

Confirming the move, the Minister said:

"The European Commission has recognised the need for tighter controls to slow the spread of Bluetongue and has introduced additional measures, which allow me to introduce extra safeguards for our industry. These new controls mean that the only cattle, sheep and goats that can come from Bluetongue Zones to our farms, are those that: are under 90 days old; or are shown to be naturally immune or have been vaccinated. Animals from these very limited categories must also meet stringent pre-export test requirements with additional rules applying to female animals."

These new measures follow the successful application to Brussels to apply a derogation from the general rules for the movement of susceptible animals from Bluetongue zones.

Discussing the new EU controls, the Minister Gildernew added:

"I am satisfied that the implementation of these new rules will provide additional protection for our livestock industry. However, they should not be taken as giving any encouragement to farmers to ignore the risks and import any animals from Bluetongue areas. I cannot stress often enough that potential importers should continue to seriously assess the risk and count the cost to their business and the wider industry."

The new rules align the North's import controls for intra-community trade with those in the South. This reaffirms the joint position taken by Ministers Gildernew and Coughlan at the recent North South Ministerial Council to keep the island of Ireland Bluetongue-free.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

  1. Previous Press Release 124/08, dated 5 May 2008 refers.
  2. Customer Information Notice ANI/APNI/2008/BT1 will issue in tandem advising interested parties of the changes.
  3. The Bluetongue leaflet and a Question and Answer guide is available online at: http://www.dardni.gov.uk/index/animal-health/animal-diseases/bluetongue.htm
  4. Commission Regulation (EC) No 1266/2007, as amended, lays down the specific measures for control of Bluetongue.

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