“We have now received from Pirbright results of the samples taken from the sheep at Meigh before they were slaughtered and incinerated yesterday. These results are positive and I have to confirm the presence of Foot and Mouth Disease in Northern Ireland.”

“An 8 kilometre zone had been applied around the Meigh farm because of suspicion of the presence of Foot and Mouth Disease and restrictions imposed on the movement of animals. That zone will now be replaced by a 10 kilometre surveillance zone within which all movements of animals will be prohibited unless authorised by the Department. All livestock within the surveillance zone will be regularly inspected for the presence of Foot and Mouth Disease. Within the 10 kilometre zone more severe measures will apply to farms in a 3 kilometre protection zone around the infected premises. Details of these are being drawn up and will be announced later.

“There is a large pig unit adjacent to the premises on which the sheep were located at Meigh. As pigs represent a significant means of spreading the disease it had been decided even before the results from Pirbright were received, to slaughter and incinerate all the pigs on this unit. This process will begin today.”

“We have sent to Pirbright the samples taken from the sheep delivered yesterday to the Veterinary Laboratory at Omagh and the results of the tests are awaited. A thorough clinical examination on the farm yesterday indicated no sign of any other symptoms and a further clinical examination will be carried out today.”

“As a further precaution the Department’s veterinary laboratories at Stormont and Omagh have temporarily ceased to accept carcases of farm animals, including poultry and horses, for disease diagnosis purposes. The Stormont laboratories will continue to receive blood and non-carcase samples except those which originate in areas in which Foot and Mouth Disease movement restrictions are in force. A restricted service for non-carcase samples will be provided by the Omagh laboratory by prior arrangement with local veterinary practitioners.”

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“The Department is receiving requests to comment on individual cases of animals or farms which may be under suspicion. I would stress that no comment will be made on such individual cases unless we believe that there is something of significance of which it is necessary to make the public aware.”

“I am aware that the measures which have had to be taken because of Foot and Mouth Disease affect the normal operation of the livestock subsidy schemes. I am very anxious to maintain the flow of payments to farmers as normal.

Because on-farm inspections will not be possible during the restrictions, the following arrangements will apply:

  • BSP first stage animals will remain on farms and the APHIS database will be used to verify claims for payment.
  • BSP second stage animals will be verified at slaughter and farmers should return relevant kill documentation to the office handling their claim.
  • BSP second stage animals will be verified at slaughter and farmers should return relevant kill documentation to the office handling their claim.
  • Farmers should ensure that good records are kept as these will be required for any subsequent on-farm inspections.”

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