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Minister Couglan meets on FMD

The Minister for Agriculture and Food, Mary Coughlan T.D., this morning met senior officials in her Department to review the latest developments relating to the FMD outbreak in Surrey, including the most recent information from the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in London.

Minister Coughlan said that she had noted the decision of DEFRA to relax the movement controls to allow live animals be moved directly for slaughter throughout Great Britain, other than in the protection and surveillance zones, from midnight last night.

Minister Coughlan said that regardless of the results of samples taken from a herd slaughtered yesterday on a farm adjacent to that on which the second case of FMD was confirmed, a positive result would have no significant implications, given its location within one of the existing protection zones.

The Minister and her officials also reviewed the operation of the new import requirements for animals and products coming for Northern Ireland and Great Britain (live animal imports remain banned from the latter) and said that 'while the EU requirements are being applied, every effort is being made to continue to facilitate normal trade.

The Minister was fully briefed on the outcome of yesterday's meeting of the EU Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCoFCAH) in Brussels, which agreed that the current restrictions on exports from Great Britain and Northern Ireland will continue to apply until at least 25th August, though they will be reviewed at a further SCoFCAH meeting on 23rd August.

Minister Coughlan concluded by expressing her appreciation of those in the Irish agri-industry, including farmers and show organisers, who have put in place appropriate biosecurity measures to minimise any risk of the introduction of the disease to Ireland.

9 August, 2007

Date Released: 09 August 2007