The existence of foot and mouth disease in Northern Ireland poses a very great risk to the farming industry here. The effects of spread of the disease within the island of Ireland could be devastating and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has issued the following advice to members of the public in an attempt to prevent disease spread.

Travel to Northern Ireland from Great Britain

The known weight of infection in Great Britain is much heavier than that here. Travellers entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain by sea or air must take great care that they do not act as inadvertent spreaders of the disease. Shipping and air lines have agreed to make announcements to passengers to this effect.

Travellers who have had contact with agricultural animals or premises whilst in Great Britain should report to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development's Imports Inspectors on arrival at ports and airports. They may be requested to have their footwear and clothing disinfected and vehicles, such as those which may have been in contact with susceptible animals, may also have to be sprayed with a harmless disinfectant to ensure that any infection which they may be carrying is killed. Any such travellers are asked to avoid contact with farm livestock for one week after their return to Northern Ireland.

Contact with agricultural land and livestock in Northern Ireland

Members of the public are asked to avoid contact with farm land and animals as much as possible. They should not visit farm premises unless absolutely necessary. Walking in the vicinity of agricultural land should be abandoned until the disease situation becomes clearer. Country sports and pastimes should be postponed. Domestic animals should be kept under control and on no account be allowed to roam on agricultural land.

Consideration for our agricultural industry

The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development regrets having to request this curtailment of normal activities but would stress that transmission of this most contagious and economically significant disease must be avoided at all costs.

If members of the public require any further clarification on these matters, they should contact their local Divisional Veterinary Office, the phone number for which may be found in the telephone directory under Government of Northern Ireland, Agriculture and Rural Development, Veterinary Service. Information on the situation may also be accessed on the DARD Website by clicking here

just-food.com published a feature on foot and mouth. To read it, click here.