Bríd Rodgers, the Minister for Agriculture and RURAL DEVELOPMENT, announced today that, in order to avoid serious welfare problems arising out of the current restrictions on animal movements, she is to allow limited movements under strictly controlled conditions.


Speaking at Stormont before leaving for London for a meeting with the other UK Agriculture Ministers, Mrs Rodgers said


“I am concerned that at this time of year when farm animals are giving birth, serious welfare problems could be experienced. I do not want to have to slaughter animals on welfare grounds and, therefore, where the situation warrants it, I am prepared to grant licences to farmers to move sheep from mountain pastures to enable them to lamb at the home premises. The same will apply to cows calving away from the home premises where conditions could give rise to welfare problems.”


The Minister continued,


“I am also conscious that overcrowding, leading to serious welfare problems can develop if weaner pigs are not moved to fattening premises. In these circumstances I have agreed to an extension of the licensing system. I want to stress however, that licenses will only be granted in exceptional circumstances and within limited distances to ensure that the risk of disease spread is minimised.”


In the 3km Protection zone in South Armagh, animals will still only be allowed to move for emergency welfare slaughter. In the Surveillance zone, fat pigs will be allowed to move direct to slaughter to an abattoir designated by DARD.


Also in the 10km Surveillance zone and in the rest of Northern Ireland, weanling pigs may be moved direct to fattening premises within 5 km of their current accommodation. Cows at calving and sheep approaching lambing on outlying premises will also be allowed to move to the home premises provided no more than 5 km is travelled and no further movement takes place within 14 days. Strict conditions will apply and licenses will only be granted where genuine welfare problems exist or are likely to develop. In the Surveillance zone, movement will be under direct supervision by DARD. No movements to destinations outside the zone will be allowed, except for emergency slaughter or the movement of fat pigs to a designated abattoir. Before movement, these animals will be subject to clinical examination.


Mrs Rodgers concluded


“I have also agreed that in certain circumstances, such as where there has been no contact with Foot and Mouth Disease susceptible animals, mares may move under licence to stud to be covered but any mare moved into the Surveillance zone, will not be permitted to leave.” “None of this takes away from the fact the front line of defence against Foot and Mouth Disease continues to rest with farmers.”


NOTES FOR EDITORS



  1. Full details of the movements allowed and conditions for granting of licences are given in the Annex.


ANNEX
FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE
EASING OF MOVEMENT RESTRICTIONS ON WELFARE GROUNDS
PROTECTION (3K) AND SURVEILLANCE (10k) ZONES
Codicils to all licensed movements



  • Any licensed movement must not increase contact between sheep and cattle/pigs.
  • The receiving holding will be subject to a movement embargo for 14 days following the movement.
  • The movement must not be to common grazing

In the Protection Zone


By EC legislation no animals may move off the holdings in this Zone with the exception of emergency slaughter animals. Thus the only animals which may move within this zone are animals moving directly to slaughter on emergency welfare grounds. This movement will be by licence and subject to clinical inspections and supervision of transport by a DARD official


This restriction will remain for 15 days from completion of initial cleansing and disinfection. This period is due to end on 30 March.


In the Surveillance Zone


Pigs


Where, due to serious welfare problems arising from overcrowding, tailbiting etc, fattening pigs need to move to slaughter, such movement will be permitted under licence to an abattoir designated by DARD. The issue of a licence will be subject to a clinical examination of the herd and supervised transport by a DARD official.


Where, again due to serious welfare problems, it becomes necessary to move weaning pigs to fattening premises, such movement will be permitted under licence to fattening premises within the zone and not more than 5km distant from the weaner accommodation. The issue of a licence will be subject to a clinical examination of the herd and supervised transport by a DARD official.


Cattle


Licences will be granted on an individual basis to move cattle back to home premises for calving where the cow is on slatted accommodation and no facilities for penning exist. Movement must be within the zone and not more than 5km distant from current location. The issue of a licence will be subject to a clinical examination of the herd and supervised transport by a DARD official.


Where dairy cows calving at outfarm need to be milked following calving, licences will be granted on an individual basis to move cattle back to home premises for calving. Movement must be within the zone and not more than 5km distant from current location. The issue of a licence will be subject to a clinical examination of the herd and supervised transport by a DARD official.


Cattle, which are injured in some fashion, so as to present an acute serious welfare situation may be moved under licence which will be issued subject to veterinary confirmation of the actual situation, a clinical examination of the herd and supervised transport by a DARD official.


Sheep


Where ewes have to lamb on mountain accommodation or on outlying ground considerable distances from home holding, licences will be granted on an individual application basis to move those sheep back to home premises for lambing. Movement must be within the zone and not more than 5km distant from current location. The issue of a licence will be subject to a clinical examination of the herd and supervised transport by a DARD official.


Horses


Mares may be moved to stud under licence in the zone and from outside the zone. Licences will be granted on the same basis as “Controlled Area” conditions, but movement of the mare out of the zone again will not be possible


FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE
EASING OF MOVEMENT RESTRICTIONS ON WELFARE GROUNDS
CONTROLLED AREA (Rest of NI outside zone in South Armagh)
Codicils to all licensed movements



  • Any licensed movement must not increase contact between sheep and cattle/pigs.
  • The receiving holding will be subject to a movement embargo for 14 days following the movement.
  • The movement must not be to common grazing 

Pigs


Where weaning pigs need to move to fattening premises because of serious welfare problems arising from overcrowding, tailbiting, etc, movement under licence to fattening premises within the zone and not more than 5km distant from the weaner accommodation will be permitted. The issue of a licence will be subject to a clinical examination of the herd, which will be by the applicant’s private veterinary surgeon at his/her expense.


Cattle


Where cows are calving away from home premises on slatted accommodation where no provision for penning is possible or where dairy cows are calving at an outfarm and which need to be milked following calving, the current adjustment where licences are granted on an individual basis to move cattle back to home premises for calving will be continued.


Sheep


Where ewes have to lamb on mountain accommodation or on outlying ground unsuitable for lambing, licences will be granted on an individual application basis to move those sheep back to home premises for lambing. Movement must be not more than 5km distant from current location.


Horses


Mares moving to stud to be covered will be permitted to do so but the licence will only be granted where the mare has had no contact with FMD susceptible species in the past 14 days and a private veterinary surgeon has supported the application.


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