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Ireland achieves Aujeszky's Disease Free Status - Coveney

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, TD, is delighted to announce that Ireland has achieved Aujeszky's Disease-free status following the success of the National Aujeszky's Disease Control and Eradication Programme.

The objective of this programme, launched in 2002, was to eliminate Aujeszky's Disease from the national pig herd and to obtain official Aujeszky's free status. This status will be of significant benefit to the entire Irish pig sector by recognising the health standard of the national herd, by protecting our access to export markets and by allowing Ireland to exploit new market opportunities. As an Aujeszky's Disease free region Irish herdowners can now export live pigs to other AD free regions without the high cost of compulsory isolation, herd surveillance and blood testing. Ireland recently presented the results of its programme to all EU Member States.  These results demonstrated that the objective has been reached and that Aujeszky's disease in Ireland had been eradicated.

Speaking today, the Minister said "I am delighted with the outcome of this programme.  Following three national testing phases we are now at the stage where Aujeszky's Disease has been eliminated from Ireland.  I would like to thank pig herd owners, farmers and their representative bodies and veterinary practitioners for the level of co-operation and commitment they have shown in reaching this point. I also want to recognise the enormous contribution of my own staff in coordinating and driving this successful outcome".

The Minister added that the future of agriculture in the country will be influenced to a very large extent by our ability to control and eradicate animal diseases and the high priority placed on this programme has been well rewarded. Furthermore, this very positive development will underpin our efforts in achieving the Food Harvest 2020 targets.

Concluding, Minister Coveney added "I would like to congratulate Northern Ireland which has also been successful in eradicating this disease - I know my officials cooperated closely with their colleagues in the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and I particularly welcome the fact that the whole island has progressed at the same time and is now one Aujeszky's free region".

Note for editors:

Aujeszky's Disease is a highly contagious viral infection primarily affecting pigs.  It causes central nervous system signs and high mortality rates in young animals, and respiratory illness in older pigs.

Date Released: 02 October 2012