The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation is spending US$10m on improving Iraq's war and sanctions-weakened veterinary service, to improve the health of its 17m sheep and goats plus its 2.5m cattle.

The aim is to reduce Iraq's high dependence on imported meat anddairy products. There are particular concerns about brucellosis infection amongst sheep, with an estimated 1.5m having the disease; other fears focus on food-and-mouth disease, sheep and goat pox and haemorrhagic septicaemia.

The FAO will train veterinary staff, restore laboratories and buy clinical supplies and equipment, whilst building and equipping nine veterinary centres and seven dedicated cold stores.