Pre-movement brucellosis testing on both sides of the border will end today.
Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney and his Northern Ireland counterpart Michelle O’Neil jointly announced the move at the Ploughing Championships.
The decision to remove the legislative requirement for pre-movement testing was taken following the effective eradication of brucellosis on the island.
There has not been an outbreak in the national herd since 2006 and none in Northern Ireland since 2012.
Mr Coveney said the cessation of compulsory pre-movement testing means routine on-farm brucellosis testing will no longer be required in the State.
This, he said, is a major landmark in the history of disease eradication in Ireland and will result in significant savings for livestock farmers in testing costs, estimated at €6m per annum.
Mr Coveney said the disease will, however, continue to be compulsorily notifiable and the Department of Agriculture will continue with appropriate monitoring measures.
“I warmly welcome the fact that we can now bring to an end the legislative requirement for routine on-farm testing for brucellosis,” said Mr Coveney.
“This is a major boost for Irish farmers and is the product of efforts put in jointly by my department, the veterinary profession and by the farming community over many years in addressing this highly-contagious and costly disease.”
Mr Coveney said he was delighted that the North, having been free from brucellosis for more than three years, has been granted brucellosis-free status and is moving to scale down testing for the disease.
“This is significant in the context of north/south co-operation on animal health issues and was a major factor in his decision to discontinue pre-movement testing here,” said Mr Coveney
He urged farmers to continue to be vigilant in sourcing cattle from reputable outlets.
He said famers should ensure they have bio-security arrangements for animals introduced into their herds.
Ms O’Neill added that it was pleasing that both regions can move in tandem to remove pre-movement testing.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved