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Fortress Ireland Call On Bluetongue Repeated

04 February 2011

UK - Northern Irish Agriculture Minister, Michelle Gildernew, has reminded farmers and others involved in the farming sector of the risks of importing animals from Bluetongue-affected areas.

Discussing the bluetongue risk, the Minister said: “I am concerned that some in our industry seem to think that it is safe to import animals from areas not yet free from Bluetongue.

"Now is not the time to become complacent. I, with the support of the industry, have worked tirelessly to minimise the threat of Bluetongue to the island of Ireland. I have consistently urged importers not to put their business and that of their neighbours at risk by importing animals from bluetongue protection zones in Britain and Europe.”

Emphasising the need to remain vigilant, the Minister added: “I shudder to think of the consequences had those measures not been in place. Almost three years ago on 14 February 2008, those control measures allowed us to quickly identify and cull an infected imported animal.

Further investigations were carried out, and a total of 30 animals were culled because they had been infected with the disease or posed a threat of further disease spread.

"If those controls had not been in place and Bluetongue had become established here at that time it would have cost the local industry around £75 million so far. I would ask for the industry’s continued support, not for my sake, but for the sake of the whole industry."

TheCattleSite News Desk



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