Abolishment of pre-export testing on brucellosis welcomed

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) and British Veterinary Association Northern Ireland have welcomed the announcement that pre-export testing for brucellosis in Northern Ireland will be made redundant.

Brucellosis is a zoonotic disease that can be found in livestock and can cause long-lasting, flu-like symptoms, according to NHS Choices.

Agriculture Minister Michelle ONeill MLA announced on Wednesday 27 January that pre-export testing for brucellosis in Northern Ireland will be done away with from Monday 1 February.

The news comes after the EU declared in October of last year that the country was officially brucellosis-free, meaning that cattle aged 12 months will no longer be required to go through a pre-export brucellosis test.

The announcement is another important step forward in ridding Northern Ireland of brucellosis, and ongoing compliance with surveillance measures and biosecurity advice remains vital, commented Simon Doherty, president of the BVA Northern Ireland branch.

Brucellosis testing will continue for the five years required, and we encourage farmers to fulfil their obligation to report any late-term abortion and deaths of calves within 24 hours of birth to their local DARD [Department of Agriculture and Rural Development] divisional office. This continued vigilance, based on the precautionary principle, will facilitate appropriate follow-up and help ensure Northern Ireland remains officially brucellosis-free.

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