The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mrs Brid Rodgers MLA today announced the steps which are being taken in GA and Northern Ireland following the discovery of Foot and Mouth Disease at an abattoir in Essex. The Minister said: "The outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease in England is a very serious development. The disease has potentially devastating consequences for the farming industry, though I am advised that it is not regarded as a human health issue. Because of the fact that Northern Ireland pigs have been slaughtered in the plant in question within the past few days, this is not just an English or GB problem. We in Northern Ireland need to take every step possible to ensure that we protect our industry from the effects of this most damaging disease.