Guidance to Wipe out Brucellosis

NORTHERN IRELAND, UK - Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill has launched a consultation on statutory biosecurity guidance for brucellosis.
calendar icon 18 July 2012
clock icon 2 minute read

Minister O’Neill outlined that in recent years excellent progress has been made in the fight against brucellosis, but warned against complacency. She said: “I am determined that we will achieve our target of eradicating brucellosis by 31 March 2014. But for this to happen, it is absolutely vital that all herdkeepers take every step to ensure that a very high standard of biosecurity is observed on their farms.”

Minister O’Neill pointed out that eradication and then subsequent recognition of ‘Officially Brucellosis Free’ status by the EU will benefit all cattle farmers here through the subsequent progressive relaxation of annual and pre-movement testing. If there are no further confirmed outbreaks, that recognition could come as early as February 2015.

Explaining further the Minister said: “The statutory biosecurity guidance brings together in one short document the statutory requirements for herdkeepers specifically in relation to brucellosis, and the recommended key actions that they should take to protect their herd from the risk of the disease. It sets out the existing legal requirements that herdkeepers must meet in respect of brucellosis, as well as the key actions that herdkeepers should take to ensure good biosecurity.”

The Minister highlighted that failure to comply with the statutory guidance would be admissible in any civil or criminal proceedings and a court may take account of any failure to act in accordance with it in deciding any questions in all such proceedings.

Setting out the reasons why the Department is bringing forward the statutory guidance at this time, the Minister said: “Brucellosis may now be at very low levels, with a confirmed herd incidence of 0.02% as at 30 April 2012. However, we need to make sure that the disease is eradicated and that brucellosis freedom is maintained thereafter. One breakdown is enough to undo all the good work to date and set back the eradication of this costly disease.

“We believe that introducing statutory biosecurity guidance specifically for brucellosis will focus herdkeepers’ minds on the steps they must take to ensure that all appropriate biosecurity measures are taken to help prevent and reduce the risk of infection in their herds.

“I would encourage all herdkeepers to fully engage in the consultation process by studying the consultation documentation and responding with their views.”

Copies of the consultation documentation can be obtained by visiting the consultations section of the Department’s website.

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