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9. Animal Health and Welfare - Part 1

NOTIFIABLE DISEASES

The Diseases of Animals Act, 1966 provides the basic legislation for the control and eradication of animal diseases. The following diseases, if suspected or confirmed, must be notified to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in accordance with the Act or the Bovine TB and Brucellosis orders.

GENERAL

Anthrax, Bluetongue, Brucellosis in ruminating animals and swine, Campylobacteriosis, Caseous Lymphadenitis, Contagious Agalactia, Foot and Mouth Disease, Johne's Disease, Peste des Petits Ruminants, Pulmonary Adenomatosis, Rabies, Rift Valley Fever, Salmonellosis (caused by or involving Salmonella Enteriditis or Salmonella Typhimurium, Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (other than BSE/Scrapie), Tuberculosis in ruminating animals.

CATTLE

Bovine Brucellosis, Bovine Tuberculosis, Bovine Leukosis, BSE, Cattle Plague (Rinderpest), Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia, Lumpy Skin Disease, Warble Fly.

PIGS

African Swine Fever, Aujeszky's Disease, Classical Swine Fever, Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea, Porcine Corona Virus, Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome, Swine Influenza, Swine Vesicular Disease, Porcine Enterovirus Encephalomyelitis (Teschen Disease), Transmissible Gastroenteritis, Vesicular Stomatitis.

SHEEP

Enzootic Abortion of Ewes, Maedi Visna, Scrapie, Sheep Pox, Sheep Scab.

POULTRY

Arizona Disease, Avian Influenza (Low Pathogenic and Highly Pathogenic) Fowl Pest (other than Avian Influenza and Newcastle Disease), Infectious Laryngo-Tracheitis, Mycoplasmosis (caused by or involving Mycoplasma Gallisepticum, Mycoplasma Meleagridis or Mycoplamsa Synovia), Newcastle disease, Psittacosis, Salmonella gallinarum and pullorum, Turkey Rhinotracheitis, diseases caused by or involving Yersinia spp.

HORSES AND OTHER EQUINES

African Horse Sickness, Contagious Equine Metritis, Dourine, Epizootic Lymphangitis, Equine Infectious Anaemia, Equine Viral Arteritis, Glanders (farcy), Equine Encephalomyelitis, Hendra virus, Piroplasmosis, Surra, West Nile Virus.

GOATS

Caprine Viral Arthritis-Encephalitis, Goat Pox.

DEER

Epizootic Haemorrhagic Disease.

BEES

Small Hive Beetle, Tropilaelaps Mite, American Foul Brood Disease, European Foul Brood Disease

TB AND BRUCELLOSIS ERADICATION SCHEMES

The control and ultimate eradication of Bovine Tuberculosis and Brucellosis is essential for the well-being and future development of our livestock production for both export and domestic markets. 

EXISTING ARRANGEMENTS

The main aspects of the TB and Brucellosis Diseases Eradication Schemes are as follows:

  • annual testing (the "Round" test) of the national herd for bovine TB and designated herds in the case of Brucellosis;
  • follow-up and focused strategic additional testing, including use of blood testing in certain circumstances;
  • rapid removal of reactors to meat factories paid for by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food;
  • a range of compensation measures for farmers whose herds are effected by disease;
  • detailed epidemiology and feedback to farmers;
  • a comprehensive research programme aimed at preventing TB spread by wildlife and the development of blood tests, vaccines and other technological tools required to improve effectiveness of programmes.

Responsibility for arranging and paying for the first herd tests each year rests with farmers. In addition, farmers have primary responsibility for protecting their own herds and are also encouraged to assist the Department's District Veterinary Offices in research activities, as necessary.

BOVINE TUBERCULOSIS

Bovine Tuberculosis is a chronic, highly infectious disease of cattle caused by Mycobacterium bovis. The bacterium can cause disease in other domestic or wild animals and also in humans.

Testing Requirements for TB
All animals on the holding, with the exception of calves under six weeks old which were born in the holding, must be tested yearly. Failure to test by the specified date and within the required period is likely to result in the prohibition of movement of animals from the herd to other farms, marts, meat plants and points of export and, if relevant, the withdrawal of herd health certification under the dairy hygiene regulations.

Untreated raw milk from reactors should never be consumed. 

Causes of infection in cattle

  • Breathing air contaminated by already infected animals;
  • Consuming contaminated food or water;
  • Movement of animals and contact with infected animals e.g. across fences;
  • Inter-farm sharing of machinery (cattle trailers, muck/slurry spreaders, etc.) or farm facilities (cattle crushes);
  • The use of dirty lorries to transport animals;
  • Wildlife, especially badgers, infected with Mycobacterium Bovis may be a significant factor in the persistence of bovine tuberculosis in certain areas.

Precautions against TB Infection

  • Have stock-proof boundary fencing;
  • Avoid contact with other herds and stock of unknown status;
  • Exercise care in buying-in cattle. Ensure that only recently tested cattle are allowed onto your farm to mix with your stock;
  • Avoid using dirty contract equipment e.g. cattle transport, slurry spreaders. All such equipment should be cleansed and disinfected before use.

The risk of spread from wildlife can be reduced by keeping cattle and infected wildlife apart and by implementing the following measures:

  • Fencing off common watercourses, stagnant ponds, badger setts and badger toilet areas;
  • Raising drinking and feeding troughs to over 84 cm (32 inches) in height and locating them away from walls / ditches to prevent access;
  • Not providing hand feeding to cattle where deer can share it e.g. circular feeders and/or meal troughs;
  • Keeping feed storage areas, cattle sheds and yards closed so that wildlife cannot gain entry;
  • Checking fields regularly for badger carcasses and especially before moving cattle onto new pasture - note that manual blocks kept in fields may also be accessed by badgers;
  • Being aware of unusual sightings of badgers e.g. in daytime. The badgers may be sick from TB - contact your District Veterinary Office.

The ideal long-term answer to the problem of bovine tuberculosis is eradication. With an appropriate co-ordinated approach, together with new technology, Ireland can advance towards eradication of Bovine TB.

BOVINE BRUCELLOSIS

Brucellosis in cattle is a highly contagious disease which is spread by infected material at time of calving or abortion and which can also result in infertility, morbidity and reduced milk yield. The organism is readily killed by disinfection. There are also human health risks because the disease may be transmitted by drinking unpasteurised milk from infected cows, by inhalation, cuts and abrasions, or by droplet infection. The only clinical symptom of brucellosis in cattle is abortion and it is obligatory to report all abortions to the Department's local District Veterinary Office (DVO) (see list of DVOs at Appendix 1B).

Testing Requirements for Brucellosis
Ireland was declared Officially Free from Brucellosis in 2009. In light of this achievement, a controlled reduction in the testing requirements of the brucellosis eradication programme has been commenced. Details of the testing requirements are sent to farmers during the annual round test process and are available from the District Veterinary Offices and may be changed from time to time by the Department. The arrangements for the Brucellosis testing in 2010 are as follows:

  1. Annual herd "round" test: only animals 24 months or over are required to be presented for testing. In addition, dairy herds are now only tested every second year;
  2. Pre-movement test - Age threshold: The age threshold for pre-movement testing for female animals has been increased to 18 months or more and to 24 months or more for bulls. Furthermore, the period for the pre-movement testing requirement has been extended from 30 days to 60 days. However, note that certain animals are required to be post-movement tested within 30 days of entering the holding if, in the event of a Brucellosis breakdown, they are to be considered eligible for the Depopulation Standard Rate Plus Depopulation Grant;
  3. One movement per test: The age threshold for female animals is 18 months or more. The 12 month threshold for bulls has been raised to 24 months or more i.e. female cattle aged 18 months or more and bulls aged 24 months or more may not be sold more than once, whether by public or private sale, on foot of a brucellosis test and such cattle being sold must be moved from the holding where tests are undertaken direct to either the purchaser's holding or direct to a mart and from there direct to the purchaser's holding;
  4. The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food reserves the right to request any animal to be presented for test where deemed appropriate on veterinary grounds.

Precautions against Brucellosis infection in cattle

  • Breed own replacements where possible;
  • If buying in replacement or additional females or bulls:
    • ensure that they come from a reliable source and have been pre-movement tested within 60 days prior to movement;
    • isolate moved in animals from other females and bulls. Any pregnant bought in animals should be isolated pending completion of a post calving test;
    • ensure all blood tests are carried out promptly, including the voluntary post-movement test within 30 days of arrival at the farm failure to do so will result in reduced rates of compensation payable in the event of a disease breakdown;
  • Take precautions to ensure that disease does not enter the herd from a neighbouring herd so maintain proper boundary fences and keep susceptible animals away from boundary fences - use these areas for bullocks, fodder or non-bovines;
  • DO NOT borrow/lend equipment such as calving jack, cattle trailer, slurry spreader etc.;
  • Isolate all pregnant animals away from boundary fields and observe them carefully for any signs of premature calving;
  • Provide adequate calving facilities.

COMPENSATION REGIME FOR T.B. AND BRUCELLOSIS

Requirements

  • Even if a herd is clear or is not required to be tested this year, each owner/keeper should be fully familiar with the terms of the TB and Brucellosis compensation regimes;
  • The main elements of the existing compensation regime are the On-Farm Market Valuation Scheme, the Income Supplement Scheme, the Depopulation Grant Scheme and the Hardship Grant Scheme. In order to qualify for payment, the owner/keeper must meet certain eligibility conditions under each Scheme.;
  • Entitlement to the payment of compensation is also conditional on compliance with the provisions of the Diseases of Animals Act, 1966, any Orders made thereunder and any other controls laid down under the Diseases Eradication Schemes, with identification regulations and other national/EU legislative requirements and controls relating to bovine animals administered by the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. The Minister may refuse payment of compensation, in whole or in part, where a owner/keeper does not satisfy the aforementioned provisions or where the Minister is satisfied that the owner/keeper has failed to co-operate with authorised officers or Veterinary Inspectors of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in carrying out their duties under the Schemes;
  • Compensation payments are structured to benefit the owner/keeper whose farming practice assists herd health protection. The Department's Booklet "Compensation arrangements for TB and Brucellosis - Important Information for Farmers" provides useful information in relation to the On Farm Market Valuation Scheme, Income Supplement, Depopulation Grant and Hardship Grant eligibility requirements, rates, etc. The booklet is available on request from the D.V.O.;
  • Under the Brucellosis Eradication Scheme, all eligible animals must be tested in accordance with the rules set out above. In addition, eligible animals that are required to have a post-movement Brucellosis test must have been tested within 30 days of entering the holding in order to be eligible for consideration for maximum compensation payments in the event of a Brucellosis breakdown in the herd;
  • In the case of a Brucellosis breakdown, the DVO will commence completion of Form ER 111 using all available information on eligible animals which possibly entered the herd during the specified period under review for determining compensation payment. Form ER 111 will be forwarded to the owner/keeper who may be required to furnish additional information but will be required to sign a declaration. Each owner/keeper will have a unique review period which is dependent on, inter alia, date of breakdown test and date of last full herd test prior to the breakdown;
  • Apart from the legal requirement to keep a herd register on all animal movements, it is absolutely imperative for the purposes of the Brucellosis compensation arrangements that the owner/keeper keeps records of all movements of eligible animals into/out of his/her herd using a herd register and keeping other relevant information as proof of purchase or sale. In the event of a Brucellosis breakdown, it will then be possible for the owner/keeper to speedily provide the additional information needed to complete the valuation and other compensation processes e.g. date of purchase. The Brucellosis valuation amount due and Depopulation Grant category cannot be determined by the DVO without the full co-operation of the owner/keeper in completing Form ER 111 as soon as possible after the breakdown and providing all the information sought. The onus is on the owner/keeper to provide all necessary information to the valuer and to the DVO. The herd register and/or original sales or other related documentation may be requested from the owner/keeper by the valuer and/or the DVO.

ON-FARM MARKET VALUATION

Compensation for cattle removed as reactors is paid under the On-Farm Market Valuation Scheme. Under this scheme, full market values subject to the ceilings referred to below will be payable where breakdown herds are stable (i.e. not transient or dealer) and where the owner/keeper has complied with the legal and other requirements relating to the disease eradication schemes and to cattle identification/registration and veterinary medicine requirements. In the case of dealer/transient herds, compensation will not in any event exceed the ceilings that apply under the 27 April 1998 Reactor Compensation Regime.

For the purpose of valuations, "Market Value" is the equivalent price which might reasonably have been obtained for the animal at the time of determination of compensation from a purchaser in the open market if the animal was not affected by TB or Brucellosis or was not being removed as part of depopulation under the disease eradication programme.

Note: EU State Aid rules also require that herdowners should not be over-compensated for actual losses arising from the removal of cattle as reactors. Accordingly, herdowners are required to advise the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of any payments received from private insurance in respect of any animal removed as a reactor. Where such payments are made, the amount payable by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food will be reduced accordingly.

The main features of the live valuation system include:

  • Valuations are carried out within prescribed timescales and by reference to guidelines drawn up by Department staff;
  • A ceiling of €2,800 (inclusive of factory salvage price) applies to payments in respect of any single animal, except in respect of one pedigree stock bull per farm where a ceiling of €3,500 (inclusive of factory salvage price) applies;
  • Where the owner/keeper or the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food do not accept the initial valuation, they can appeal the valuation;
  • Following completion of the on-farm valuation process (i.e. first valuation or appeal), the reactor(s) are removed from farms by the Reactor Collection Service;
  • If there is no agreement following an appeal, the matter can be referred to an Arbitration Panel whose decision will be final and binding on both parties;
  • Graduated penalties apply to the final compensation payment made to the owner/keeper where s/he unreasonably delays the removal of reactors as well as for other breaches of regulations;
  • Valuation payments will not be paid in respect of any introduced animal (other than a stock bull, replacement suckler calf or in the case of a newly established herd) deemed reactor which was moved into the holding during the restriction period;
  • Farmers should be aware that the movement of any animal into a restricted holding is prohibited, except with the written permission of the DVO and on foot of a movement permit.
  • When farmers are given permission to move in animals during a restriction period, they should be aware that the movement in of cattle will, with certain limited exceptions, render them ineligible for the Hardship Grant and/or Income Supplement schemes and they may not be entitled to full payment under the Depopulation Grants Scheme.

DEPOPULATION GRANT

An owner/keeper whose herd is depopulated (totally or partially) in the interest of disease control may qualify for Depopulation Grants. Depopulation Grants are paid for each animal removed in the depopulation measure and for those removed as reactors since the holding was restricted, on condition that the owner/keeper agrees to depopulation at the time specified by the DVO. If this agreement is not received and depopulation takes place subsequently, the owner/keeper is excluded from eligibility for Depopulation Grants on all past, present and future reactors during the restriction period i.e. Depopulation Grants will only be paid on the in-contact animals removed at the time of any subsequent depopulation. In addition, Depopulation Grants are not payable on animals (with certain exceptions) which are moved onto the holding during the restriction period. (Full details are available from the District Veterinary Office (DVO). Depopulation Grants are paid in respect of each month of the rest period specified by the DVO. The maximum rates payable currently in force per animal for an entire 4 month period are as follows:

  Stable Stable  Transient/Dealer/Other  
TB Brucellosis    TB and Brucellosis 
  Animal Rate(€)  Standard rate (€) Standard rate plus (€)  
(i)Dairy Cows / In-Calf Heifers/Pedigree Bulls
> 12 months
228.52 126.97 228.55  Nil
(ii) Other Cows
/ In-Calf Heifers
126.96 126.97 126.97 Nil
(iii) Other Animals 76.16 38.09 76.18 Nil

INCOME SUPPLEMENT

Income Supplement is payable in cases where disease breakdown results in the removal of more than 10% of animals in a herd and where depopulation is not deemed appropriate. Payment is in respect of each animal removed as a reactor from a herd, subject to a maximum of 100 animals qualifying for payment.

A herdowner will not be eligible for Income Supplement with effect from the date cattle (other than a stock bull, replacement suckler calf or in the case of a newly established herd) are moved into a restricted herd (even where permission for such movement has been given by the DVO). It is important to note that movement of any animal into a restricted herd is prohibited, except with the written permission of the DVO and on foot of a movement permit, where appropriate. Where eligibility for payment has already been determined prior to the animals having been moved in, payment of Income Supplement will cease for the remainder of that restriction period from the date of movement into the herd. 

Income Supplement eligibility will also cease in the event of:

  • The owner/keeper failing to co-operate with Veterinary Inspectors or authorised officers in carrying out their duties under the Diseases Eradication Schemes, including delays in testing;
  • Depopulation (total or partial) of the herd being deemed appropriate by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food;
  • De-restriction of the holding (or earlier if de-restriction is delayed as a result of the reactor having being treated with veterinary medicine).

The monthly rates currently in force per animal are as follows:

Income Supplement Monthly Rates

 Animal  Stable     Transient/Dealer/Other 
  TB Brucellosis    
  Rate (€)  Rate (€) Rate (€)
(i) Other Cows  38.09 38.09 NIL
(ii) Dairy Cows and Other Animals 25.39 25.39 NIL

Note: Specific conditions attach to the qualification for and cessation of Income Supplement payment. In particular, payment is in respect of whole months only (e.g. from 13 Sept to 12 Oct) and, accordingly, when eligibility ceases, a pro rata payment will not issue in respect of any remaining part month.

HARDSHIP GRANT

The Hardship Grant eligibility period runs from 1 November to 30 April. This Scheme is designed to alleviate the costs difficulty of some owner/keepers whose holdings are restricted on foot of a herd re-test and where animals are retained and fed during periods of restriction. Potentially eligible owner/keepers must meet certain conditions, including requirements that they (i) must not have any income from milk sales and (ii) must not have any off-farm income. In addition, the general rule is that where animals (with some specific exceptions) have been moved on to a holding during a restriction period, eligibility for receipt of the hardship grants ceases for the remainder of the restriction period. 

The Grant may provide eligible owner/keepers with a payment of up €250.00 per month for a period not exceeding 4 months within the period 1 November to 30 April. 

The onus is on potentially eligible owner/keepers to ensure that they obtain and familiarise themselves with the terms and conditions document and application form ER97. Potentially eligible owner/keepers are issued with the terms and conditions document, important notice and application form ER 97 by the DVO. Supplies of the relevant documentation are also available at DVOs. The onus is on the owner/keeper to apply for a Hardship Grant.

REACTOR COLLECTION SERVICE

A key condition for compensation payment eligibility is that all reactors must be removed immediately to slaughter via the Reactor Collection Service/Meat Plant tendering arrangement only. Where herd depopulation is deemed appropriate and the owner/keeper agrees to depopulate the herd, the entire herd must be removed to slaughter promptly in consultation with the DVO.

MISCELLANEOUS

  • A tax reference number (PPS) is required in advance of any payment issuing from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. If compensation payment/s under the scheme will exceed €10,000 in a 12 month period, a Tax Clearance Certificate is required;
  • Entitlement to compensation is conditional on owners/keepers complying with the provisions of the Diseases of Animals Act, 1966, any Orders made there under, with movement, identification and other controls laid down under the Diseases Eradication Schemes and other national/EU legislative requirements and controls relating to bovine animals administered by the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. The Minister may refuse payment of compensation, in whole or in part, where an owner/keeper does not satisfy the aforementioned provisions or where the Minister is satisfied that the owner/keeper has failed to co-operate with authorised officers or Veterinary Inspectors of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in carrying out their duties under the Schemes.
  • In accordance with the payment targets agreed on Direct Payments to Farmers under the Charter of Rights for Farmers, payment of TB and Brucellosis compensation will normally be made within 3 weeks of the date of receipt of the required back-up documentation from the owner/keeper and the meat factory. The required back up documentation for valuation payment is detailed in the "Compensation arrangements for TB and Brucellosis Important Information for Farmers" Booklet;
  • The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food will pay compensation in accordance with the provisions of the compensation regime and specified payment targets. This does not undermine or compromise the owner/keeper with regard to any appeal. In the event of a successful appeal, the requisite amount will issue as a separate payment;
  • The compensation arrangements and rates are adjusted from time to time in consultation with the farm organisations. Any queries in relation to compensation matters should be directed to the appropriate DVO in the first instance.

Further information regarding the Disease Eradication Schemes can be obtained from ERAD Division, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Backweston Campus, Stacumney Lane, Celbridge Co Kildare or from the District Veterinary Offices (DVOs) of the Department. (See Appendix 1 B for full list of DVO's)

OTHER ANIMAL DISEASES

AUJESZKY'S DISEASE CONTROL AND ERADICATION PROGRAMME (PIGS)

A national programme for the control and eradication of Aujeszky's disease in pigs was launched in late 2002. The objective of the programme is to eliminate Aujeszky's disease from the national pig herd.

In May 2010 Ireland officially achieved EU Annex II Aujeszky's disease status. Attaining Annex II status was a very significant milestone in meeting the objective of officially eradicating Aujeszky's disease from Ireland, and it is a clear demonstration of the progress we have made and of the commitment shown by all concerned - pig herd owners, the farm representative bodies and veterinary practitioners.

Phase 3 of the Control and Eradication Programme will launch in 2010 with all herds with 6 or more pigs requiring blood sampling. The ultimate intention following Phase 3 sampling is moving forward to Annex I status - official disease freedom.  

Official elimination of Aujeszky's Disease from the national pig herds will be of significant benefit to the whole 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.

AVIAN INFLUENZA

Registration of Holdings and Sites on which Domestic Poultry or Captive Birds are kept:

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food maintains a central record of all holdings or sites on which domestic poultry or captive birds are kept. This information forms an integral part of the Department's Avian Influenza contingency planning. It is a statutory requirement, for all holdings and sites on which domestic poultry or captive birds are kept, to be registered with the Department.

If you are not already registered with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food as a commercial poultry producer or processor and if, at present or in the near future, you are likely to;

  • Own or trade in domestic poultry or other captive birds (such as pheasants, pigeons, sporting birds or exotic birds but not pet birds in domestic households), or
  • Keep domestic poultry (even small numbers of chickens, hens, turkeys, ducks or geese for your own or local consumption),

You are required by law to register with the Department. Poultry owners should note that failure to register, as required by S.I. No. 42 of 2008, may leave them liable to prosecution under the Diseases of Animals Act, 1966.

You may register by completing an application form (available at your local Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food office (see list at Appendix 1B) and on the Department's website: www.agriculture.gov.ie . Completed applications should be returned to your local Department office.

BLUETONGUE

Bluetongue is a disease that affects all ruminants - cattle, sheep, deer, goats and various exotic animals, including camels, llamas etc. It is caused by a virus spread by biting midges and cannot be naturally transmitted by direct or indirect contact between animals. The midges that spread infection are active between April and October in Ireland and are commonly found around farms. Peak populations of the midges occur in the late summer and the autumn and it is at this time when bluetongue is most seen.

Bluetongue does not affect humans and this disease has no public health significance. Neither can the virus be acquired by food.

The main effect is that the virus causes severe and sometimes fatal disease (including a blue tongue, caused by bleeding) in sheep and goats and although cattle are reservoirs, they usually do not get sick. Chronic cases may die in 3-5 weeks from secondary bacterial infections or have a prolonged recovery with hair or wool loss, growth retardation or sterility. Mild cases may make a complete recovery.

As of April 2010 Ireland remains free of Bluetongue. In the event of an outbreak, control zones would be established with animal movement restrictions applied. Widespread slaughter of animals is not anticipated. Vaccination is considered to be the appropriate course of action in the event of an outbreak.

Import conditions on live susceptible animals from Bluetongue-restricted areas are in place and are permitted only under defined EU conditions. These animals are then subject to mandatory post-importation testing for Bluetongue.

Bluetongue is a notifiable disease and any suspicions must be immediately reported to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. Further information on Bluetongue can be found on the Department's website or by visiting www.bluetongue.ie

BSE

BSE is a fatal disease of cattle, which is potentially linked to the fatal human disease, variant CJD (vCJD). Its main route of transmission in cattle is through the consumption of feed containing or contaminated with Meat and Bone Meal (MBM) from the remains of infected animals.  BSE can only be confirmed by post-mortem examination of the brain.  It is most common in cows aged 11 years or over.  Clinical signs may include evidence of anxiety and fear, abnormal gait, pawing the ground or continuous licking of nose, reduced milk yield, frenzy or aggression.  Suspect animals are destroyed by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (with compensation) and herds are restricted pending the outcome of post-mortem examination.  The Department operates a partial depopulation regime that involves the removal of cohorts (as defined in EU legislation) and progeny animals, with compensation paid at market value.  

Since 2009 Ireland among a number of EU Member States are now required to test all healthy slaughtered bovines over 48 months of age intended for human consumption and all casualty and fallen animals over 48 months of age. 

Further information may be obtained from the Animal Health and Welfare Division, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. Tel: 01 6072407

LEUKOSIS

Ireland was declared officially free of leukosis as of 1 March 1993 following a national round of tests carried out in 1991/1992. Commission Decision 1999/465/EC of 13 July 1999 (OJ L181, 1999, page 32) establishes the officially enzootic-bovine-leukosis-free status of Ireland's bovine herd. Surveillance is carried out annually to maintain Ireland's disease-free status.

Further information may be obtained from the Animal Health and Welfare Division, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Kildare Street, Dublin 2, Tel: 01 6072407.

LIVER FLUKE

Each autumn, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food issue a forecast of the incidence of liver fluke, which is updated as required. Stockowners should follow the advice given.

SCRAPIE

Scrapie is a disease of sheep in the same family as BSE (The Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies or TSE's). The incidence of Scrapie in Ireland is thought to be relatively low, with a geographical tendency towards the South East. In addition Scrapie, unlike BSE, is horizontally transmissible, especially at lambing time.

Control and Eradication Measures  
In October 2001, before horizontal EU measures were in place, the Department introduced a full depopulation regime for infected flocks, which included a prohibition on re-stocking with sheep for a period of two years following depopulation.

Since 1 October 2003, the policy for the control and eradication of Scrapie has developed in line with the development of a harmonised regime at EU level. Its main elements are:

Active Surveillance
A comprehensive testing programme for the disease is carried out at slaughterhouses and knackeries.

Infected Flocks
Infected flocks are genotyped and the Scrapie susceptible animals are disposed of. Flock owners are subsequently required to breed with Scrapie resistant animals only and are subject to a variety of restrictions, all of which are laid down by EU legislation. The Department's package includes free genotyping, market value for susceptible animals required to be disposed of, and a "hardship" payment of €84 per breeding ewe.

NATIONAL GENOTYPE PROGRAMME (NGP) (VOLUNTARY SCHEME)

NGP assists flock owners in selecting breeding sheep that are less susceptible to Scrapie. Orchid Cellmark Ltd. is the commercial laboratory approved by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to provide a blood testing service to determine the genotype of the sheep.

Participation in the NGP involves a flock owner applying to the Department to have NSIS identified sheep genotyped. S/he designates a Private Veterinary Practitioner to take blood samples. A "Lab- Form" containing details relating to the flock owner, the designated PVP and the tag numbers of the sheep to be tested will be generated and issued to the designated PVP.

The PVP in consultation with the flock owner chooses from the list of NGP approved laboratories, the laboratory in which s/he wishes to have the samples tested. The chosen laboratory is responsible for the supply of blood sampling kits and the instructions for use. The transfer of blood samples to the chosen laboratory is a matter between the flock owner, the PVP and the designated laboratory.

The laboratory transmits electronically to the Department the result of each individual test and the Department then issues the flock owner with an NGP Certificate that states the genotype of each of the sheep tested.

National Genotype Help-Line 1890-441-250

SHEEP SCAB

Sheep scab is subject to controls under the Diseases of Animals Act 1966 (Notification and Control of Animal Diseases) Order 2008 S.I. No 101 of 2008 and responsibility for these controls rest with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. This Order provides that any person who has an affected animal in his/her possession must notify his/her local District Veterinary Office. Following receipt of notification the Department may restrict a flock for a period of time.

WARBLE FLY

Warbles manifest themselves as bumps rising on the backs of cattle from mid-February until the fly emerges between April and June. Herdowners must notify any infestation and may not move infested cattle without a certificate of treatment. There has been no evidence of warbles in the domestic herd in recent years, but they may be found in imported cattle and this may result in spread requiring area treatment. Responsible importation protects the herd: buy only from a reputable source and inform your DVO of any intended importations.

ANIMAL HEALTH IRELAND (AHI)

Animal Health Ireland is a private company limited by guarantee, set up in 2009. It is partly funded by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. The aim of AHI is through superior animal health and welfare, to improve overall profitability for individual farmers and the agri-food industry and to enhance the competitiveness of Irish livestock and food in the international marketplace. Animal diseases that are already subject to regulation (such as Tuberculosis and Brucellosis) are specifically excluded from its remit.

Further information is available on Animal Health Ireland's website www.animalhealthireland.ie

SWILL CONTROL

Legislation governing the removal and disposal of international swill i.e. the Diseases of Animals Act, 1966 (as amended), Diseases of Animals (Feeding and Use of Swill) Order 1985, (S.I. No. 153 of 1985), Diseases of Animals (Feeding and Use of Swill) (Amendment) Order 1987, (S.I. No. 133 of 1987), Diseases of Animals Act, 1966 (Prohibition on the Use of Swill) Order 2001, (S.I. No. 597 of 2001), European Communities (Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies and Animal By-Products) Regulations 2008, SI No. 252 of 2008. Diseases of Animals Act 1966 (Prohibition on the use of swill) (Amendment) Order 2009, SI No. 12 of 2009. European Communities (Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies and Animal By-Products) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2009 SI No. 345 of 2009.

Regulation (EC) No 1774/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 October 2002 laying down health rules concerning animal by-products not intended for human consumption, prohibits the collection and feeding of swill to animals indefinitely for reasons of animal health but permits the feeding of certain non-animal products and milk products to animals. Licences are required to land international swill at and remove international swill from ports and airports under the above Swill Orders. International swill should only be landed at and removed from a port or airport by licensed operators. The feeding of such international swill/food waste to animals has always been prohibited.

SUBSIDY FOR TSE TESTING SCHEME

The Subsidy for TSE Testing Scheme introduced in April 2009 provides for the subsidised collection and destruction of bovines over 48 months and is available in all 26 counties. Category 2 Intermediate plants (knackeries) offering this service to farmers must be approved in accordance with the European Communities (Animal By-Products) Regulations, 2008 (S.I. No 252/2008) as amended.

The charges payable by a farmer to the collector in respect of over 48 month bovine collected under the scheme are as follows:

€54.03 per tagged over 48 month bovine

It is an offence to bury dead animals on-farm, except in accordance with a licence issued by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

Likewise farmers are advised that it is an offence if the carcase of an animal over 48 months of age deteriorates to the extent that the sample cannot easily be tested. In this context, the local knackery must be contacted within 24 hours of the death of an animal. A record should be kept of the time and date of notification of the death to the knackery. Carcases awaiting collection must be held in such a way that domestic animals, including farmed livestock, and wild animals cannot gain access to them. Failure to comply with these conditions may lead to prosecution under S.I. No. 252 of 2008 as amended.

Form NBAS 31D must be fully completed and signed and the animal passport available when the animal is collected. The NBAS 31D and the passport must be surrendered to the Collector who picks up the carcase from your farm. If you do not have the passport for the dead animal, then you must request a permit called the FAL 1 permit from your local DVO before the carcase is collected. This permit will be faxed directly to the knackery from the DVO.

A list of approved knackeries is available on the Department's website at www.agriculture.gov.ie  

Further information can be obtained from Subsidy for TSE Testing Division, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Johnstown Castle, Co Wexford. Tel: 053 9163437