Northern Ireland seeks brucellosis-free status for cattle

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has welcomed news that Stormont’s Department of Agriculture is applying to the EU for Northern Ireland cattle to be declared brucellosis-free. 

It is three years since the last confirmed case of the disease, and officially brucellosis-free (OBF) status would mean that control measures could be reduced, leading to reduced costs for farmers in Northern Ireland.

BVA president and cattle vet John Blackwell said: “This is welcome news indeed for our veterinary colleagues and farmers in Northern Ireland and clearly demonstrates what can be achieved by vets, farmers and government working in partnership to tackle what is a serious disease, which can of course be transmitted to humans.

“While we congratulate our colleagues in Northern Ireland, they would also be the first to recognise that this is not a time to be complacent and there is a need to continue surveillance to maintain disease freedom.”

Simon Doherty, president of BVA’s Northern Ireland branch, said: “This is a significant milestone for veterinary surgeons and the farming community in Northern Ireland. We are cautiously optimistic that Northern Ireland will be declared OBF and this will be a testament to how vets, farmers and government in Northern Ireland determinedly set out to eradicate this disease. It will significantly reduce costs for cattle farmers.”

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