Sinn Féin - On Your Side

We are doing all we can to keep out FMD - Gildernew

13 September, 2007

Michelle Gildernew MP MLA, Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) has announced precautionary measures following confirmation of a new case of Foot and Mouth Disease on a holding in Surrey.

Even before confirmation, the Minister took immediate pre-emptive steps in view of strong suspicion of disease in England.

Speaking after a briefing with the First and deputy First Minister at DARD HQ the Minister outlined her approach to the new case of Foot and Mouth Disease in Surrey:

"I have moved very quickly at lunchtime in advance of information of this new suspected Foot and Mouth outbreak to protect our industry. It is very unfortunate for English farmers that Foot and Mouth Disease has now been confirmed in Britain, again in the Surrey area. This latest outbreak once again emphasises the need for farmers and the wider public to adhere to strict standards of bio-security.

"I have revoked with immediate effect all DARD Specific Import Licences for cattle, goats, sheep and pigs entering here from Britain. I have also decided to prohibit again imports of certain animal products including unpasteurised milk, fresh meat, ova, embryos and fresh semen, hides and skins, dung and manure from Britain. I have already sent one consignment of cattle back to Britain that was coming in this morning. I have ordered that all disinfectant mats should be put back in place at ports and airports. Literature is to be handed out as well. All consignments of live animals that have already entered from Britain have been traced and clinical inspections are being carried out by my veterinary officials. None of the consignments had come from the Surrey area.

"Our actions are absolutely consistent with those taken in the South and in London. I have spoken to Minister Mary Coughlan from DAF (Department of Agriculture and Food) in the south and to Jonathan Shaw from Defra (Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and our actions are mirroring those in the South to try and put back into place the 'Fortress Ireland' approach that was so successful the last time.

"I wish to reassure the wider rural population that my Department will not be found wanting in relation to any necessary steps to maintain our Foot and Mouth Disease free status and protect our local industry. Once again everything that can be done will be done to keep Foot and Mouth out of Ireland.

"My officials have worked closely with Defra officials who were attending a SCoFCAH meeting in Brussels and were able to influence the Commission Decision on FMD which has just been unanimously agreed, and again recognises the unique position of the North and allows us to continue to export products to other countries."

A movement ban of cattle, sheep, pigs and other ruminants has been imposed in Britain in response to the outbreak.

The DARD Helpline number is 028 90524999.

Connect with Sinn Féin