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Minister Coughlan Introduces A Change To The Brucellosis Testing Requirements

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Mary Coughlan TD, announced today that she had decided to exclude bulls aged 24 months or less from the annual Brucellosis testing requirement. A new order, Brucellosis in Cattle (General Provisions) (Amendment) Order 2007, will give effect to this decision.

Minister Coughlan said that she had taken this decision following a review of the Brucellosis situation in the country and in light of the low risk of Brucellosis in bulls. The Minister emphasised, however, that bulls between 12 and 24 months of age would continue to be subject to pre-movement testing, contiguous testing and, where farmers wished to be eligible for the higher rate of depopulation grant, post-movement testing. The Minister said that the exemption would be of particular benefit to farmers sending bulls direct to slaughter.

Minister Coughlan said that she was in a position to exclude bulls under 24 months of age from the annual Round testing requirements because of the very low levels of Brucellosis in the country. No herd had been depopulated for Brucellosis this year and only three herds were depopulated in 2006. The Minister said that she now believed that the ultimate goal of eradication is at last a realistic prospect. However, she emphasised that, for this to be achieved, it was essential that farmers should continue to adopt appropriate replacement policies and implement effective bio-security measures. She stressed that, if farmers had to buy in replacement stock, including young female stock, they should do so from known sources and they should never purchase from a source they are not absolutely sure of. Furthermore, the Minister reminded farmers of their obligation to report any abortions to their vet or to the Department.

Concluding, Minister Coughlan said that she was satisfied that this disease can be eradicated in the short-term. She said that she was grateful for the co-operation of all of the parties who had contributed to the success to date and she was confident that their ongoing co-operation would result in the eventual eradication of a disease, which had created so much difficulty for many farmers over the years.

5 October, 2007

Date Released: 05 October 2007