Advances in animal health laws discussed at North/South council

SHEEP electronic identification and the progress being made north and south on legislation in the areas of animal health and welfare were discussed at the latest North/South ministerial council in Dublin.

Ministers Brendan Smith and Michelle Gildernew attended the council, along with Minister Eamon Ryan, Minister of State, Conor Lenihan and Junior Minister Robin Newton.

The ministers noted the ongoing progress on the delivery of the draft all-island animal health and welfare strategy.

It was also revealed that work is in hand to finalise arrangements for a cross-border stakeholder consultation event in the early part of 2010

Ms Gildernew said she wants officials to work together to ensure that new legislation is as compatible as possible, so that a common and broadly similar approach can be achieved to build on the draft all-Ireland strategy.

Pointing out that European Union proposals for a new animal health law were also discussed, she said she believes it is vital both departments work closely together on this to explore the opportunities that the proposals are likely to offer and the need for an all island approach.

Ministers also noted developments on the CAP health check agreement, the future of the Common Agricultural Policy and world trade talks, the challenges facing the agriculture sector, in particular in relation to greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets, and the current situation of the dairy industry.

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