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Minister Coughlan calls for continued EIA vigilance

Despite the lifting of all restrictions associated with last year's outbreak of Equine Infectious Anaemia (EIA), the Minister for Agriculture and Food, Mary Coughlan T.D., today emphasised the continuing need for the Department, the Irish bloodstock industry and the veterinary profession to maintain a high level of vigilance in relation to the disease.

The Minister pointed out that, given its value and reputation, and notwithstanding the Department's role in dealing with animal diseases, the Irish Bloodstock industry had a major responsibility to itself, and all involved must continue to take appropriate measures to protect the industry and contribute to ensuring that Ireland's now restored EIA-free status is maintained.

Ms Coughlan warned against the temptation to become complacent, given the successful eradication of the disease, the passage of time since the last confirmed case and the extensive amount of blood testing done, particularly since the beginning of this year.

The Minister said that her Department continues to strongly support the recommendation made by the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders' Association (ITBA) and set out in their recently published Common Code of Practice for certain equine diseases, that all mares to be covered in 2007 should have a negative EIA test within 28 days of initial cover and urged all stud farms to commit to the strict compliance with the ITBA recommendation.

Minister Coughlan said "while over 57,000 blood samples have been submitted for EIA testing since last June, it is only through continued testing that we can be confident that we remain free of the disease and, for that reason, the submission of samples from horses being covered or entered for sales is essential in providing us with the confidence that Ireland remains EIA-free".

Finally, the Minister reminded mare owners that the costs of an EIA test can be significantly offset by using the same blood sample that is submitted for Equine Viral Arteritis (EVA) testing in accordance with the recommendations in the ITBA's Common Code of Practice.

9 April, 2007

Date Released: 09 April 2007