Island is free from brucellosis

Michelle O'Neill

The whole island of Ireland may now be regarded as being free from brucellosis, said Northern Ireland Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill last week, after the European Commission approved the north’s application for Official Brucellosis Free (OBF) status.

The last confirmed case of brucellosis in the north of Ireland was in late February, 2012.

Approval of the OBF application was given at the Commission’s Standing Committee for Plants, Animals, Food and Feed meeting on September 9, and it will become official when published in the Official Journal of the EU.

IFA’s Animal Health Chairman Bert Stewart has asked Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney to remove the south’s pre-movement brucellosis test from animals over 24 months of age, following OBF confirmation in the north.

Mr Stewart said pre-movement testing for breeding animals over 24 months is the last remaining testing requirement for brucellosis, and ending it would allow southern farmers consider mart sales for female beef animals without prohibitive testing costs, offering a viable alternative sales outlet and improving competition in the cattle market.


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