The Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development Mrs Bríd Rodgers MLA, reported yesterday that there had been no new outbreaks of Foot and Mouth Disease in Northern Ireland and that several suspected outbreaks had been investigated and cleared.

Mrs Rodgers said:

"I am pleased to be able to report that there have been no fresh outbreaks of Foot and Mouth Disease since the one in County Armagh last week. While there are one or two suspects to be finally cleared, I am satisfied that they are not FMD. The Department did have a number of reports of suspicious symptoms in animals over the past few days but I am glad to say that, on investigation, none of these has turned out to be Foot and Mouth Disease either. It is very important that farmers continue to have all suspicious symptoms investigated by their vet and, if appropriate, referred to my Department for investigation.

"The Department has, unfortunately, been busy over the weekend and earlier today, slaughtering large numbers of animals which were within one kilometre of the Armagh outbreak. When complete, it will have been our sad duty to have slaughtered about 400 cattle, 1,000 pigs, and 230 sheep. The carcases of all these animals will be incinerated shortly.

"Overall, I am delighted with the extent of the co-operation there has been between all the Government Departments and Agencies in dealing with this matter. One area where I think we can use that co-operation to help the public is in relation to clearer guidance on how exactly they can help and which events etc should proceed. I am looking forward to meeting with Ministerial colleagues tomorrow (Tuesday) to agree on how best to meet that need and I am hopeful that further guidance will emerge after that meeting."

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