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Minister Wallace warns of Disease Risks associated with mixing of cattle in "Bed and Breakfast" Arrangements

Ms. Mary Wallace T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture and Food, today advised farmers of the significant disease risks associated with the mixing of cattle from different sources in housing sheds, which are colloquially called "Bed and Breakfasts".

The Minister said that while these arrangements can offer advantages in terms of management, farmers should be aware of the significant disease risks that can ensue. Farmers availing of B&B facilities should ensure that they themselves and B&B operators take every possible precaution to minimise the disease risks to their stock and to their own livelihood.

The Minister added that, where possible, cattle from different farms of origin should be kept separate so as to minimise the risk of disease transmission. Cleaning and disinfection and general hygiene in the B&B should be of the highest possible standards. Farmers should not risk putting their stock in substandard facilities.

Minister Wallace pointed out that movements to and from a B&B must conform to the same test requirements as sale/mart movements. She also stated that keepers moving animals to or from a B&B must obtain a Certificate of CMMS Compliance prior to movement. Confirmation of the movement must be sent to the Cattle Movement Notification Agency within seven days of the movement. All movements must be recorded on the herd registers of the sender and the receiver. The notification of movement and proper record keeping are paramount in the event of a disease outbreak where prompt tracing of all potentially exposed or infected animals is essential.

The Minister also advised that in advance of sending animals to a "B&B", a farmer should agree with the B&B owner the arrangements to be to put in place in the event of the animals being disclosed as reactors in the B&B and/or sent directly for slaughter from the B&B. Such agreements should take into account the procedure for accepting valuations assigned to reactor animals before removal from the B&B to a meat factory as well as payment arrangements with the meat factory.

In relation to Brucellosis, the Minister said that the mixing of pregnant female cattle should be avoided. "The Department's advice at all times is not to place pregnant female cattle into a B&B situation. Where this is unavoidable, farmers should minimise the risk by seeking out facilities where they will be the sole occupier."

The Minister also reminded farmers that it is a legal requirement that all eligible animals must be blood tested for Brucellosis within the 30 days prior to movement into and again before moving out of the B&B. She said that a post movement test is also highly advisable and indeed is essential in order to be considered for a higher level of compensation in the event of disease breakdown. She also stressed that, as always, pregnant animals should be isolated until after they have passed a post-calving blood test for Brucellosis. The Minister emphasised that, for disease tracing purposes and to fulfil EU requirements, any calves born on B&B holdings must be tagged and registered by the keeper of the B&B, using eartags appropriate to the holding of birth - i.e. the B&B holding.

24 November, 2006

NOTES FOR EDITORS

1. A full list of conditions associated with B&Bs is available at DVOs and on the Department's website.
2.

In common with all farm-to-farm movements, it is a requirement that a Certificate of CMMS Compliance is obtained prior to the movement of animals to and from a B&B holding. This is done by using an NBAS 31B form available from DVOs or from the CMMS section of the Department's website

Date Released: 24 November 2006