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Minister announces financial package for EIA testing

The Minister for Agriculture and Food, Mary Coughlan T.D., today announced a package of financial measures to assist horse owners whose horses are subject to movement restrictions and consequently, are required to undergo a programme of Department-determined tests for Equine Infectious Anaemia.

Speaking during a visit to the Dublin Horse Show at the RDS, the Minister confirmed that the Department will make a contribution of €50 for each visit by a veterinarian to take blood samples from horses that are subject to movement restrictions and will pay the Irish Equine Centre (IEC) for the cost of analysing the sample. The Minister said that the package she was putting in place would 'greatly ease the burden on those horse-owners whose horses are required to complete a programme of testing for EIA.

Minister Coughlan said that restricting and testing horses traced as having been in-contact with earlier confirmed cases was the central element of the Department's approach to containing and eradicating this disease and, despite any inconvenience caused, this had to be the Department's primary objective at all times.

In this regard the Minister also acknowledged the co-operation of the veterinary profession and expressed her gratitude to the IEC for the professional commitment to ensuring that thousands of samples have been analysed expeditiously over the past two months. The Minister said that the IEC, working closely with Department officials and laboratory personnel, is a 'vital cog in the wheel' of the Department's efforts to contain and eradicate this disease outbreak.

Horses under restriction are subject to different intervals of testing, depending on the degree of risk at which they are assessed. In some cases horses are required to be tested at 10-day intervals for the first 60 days. In other cases horses may be subject to 45-day interval testing for the period of their restriction. Restrictions will not be lifted until the horses have completed their testing programme to the Department's satisfaction.

9 August, 2006

Date Released: 09 August 2006