Bluetongue arrival

The confirmation of Bluetongue case in Northern Ireland this week is very worrying for farmers, according to Macra na Feirme. National president, Catherine Buckley, said protecting our Bluetongue-free status would be critical and that a very stringent approach must be taken when it came to implementing control measures in relation to the disease. ‘The Department must be particularly vigilant in terms of implementing the necessary bio-security measures to preserve our Bluetongue-free status’, she said. ‘This poses a serious threat to the livestock industry in this country and imports of all animals for breeding or slaughter should be suspended on a voluntary basis until a full-up-to date risk assessment is carried out,’ she said. Speaking following the confirmation of Bluetongue, Agriculture Minsiter Mary Coughlan said that the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) in Northern Ireland are continuing to regard Northern Ireland as ‘officially bluetongue free’, that the farm in question is under restriction and that the animal has been slaughtered while a programme of tracing and testing continues in associated herds. Following a meeting of the Department’s National Disease Control Centre, she had instructed that all cattle and sheep recently imported from Northern Ireland and those still on farms be traced and tested for bluetongue. Furthermore, the Minister has decided that cattle and sheep from Northern Ireland, other than those going direct to slaughter, will now be subject to post-importation test for bluetongue, as is currently the case for cattle being imported from other than Northern Ireland. Despite having done in excess of 1,700 post-importation tests, no bluetongue has been detected in this country.