Northern Irish committee members were left shocked after the revelation that over 300 animals from bluetongue-restricted areas have been imported into the country over the past few weeks.
In a committee meeting for Agriculture and Rural Development, in their weekly briefing with department officials, Members of the Legislative Assembly were told of the shocking statistic that has concerned politicians.
Committee chairperson Dr William McCrea said: "The Committee and the Department debated new legislation at the Committee meeting on enhancing controls to prevent the spread of such diseases.
"Naturally, it is disappointing to learn that there are those who will continue to put our industry at risk from disease through importing animals from bluetongue-restricted areas.
"In the absence of a compulsory ban on imports from restricted areas, the committee can only emphasise warnings issued by the department and the farm unions on the importation of animals."
The Democratic Unionist Party politician warned that the industry had to remain vigilant to ensure that no bluetongue was imported into the country.