13 September 2001
Bull semen exports to resume

By Philip Clarke, Europe editor

EXPORTS of frozen bull semen are to be allowed from British AI centres, EU vets in Brussels have agreed.

The move marks the first softening of the measures imposed by the commission following the onset of foot-and-mouth in the UK in February.

Tough new conditions will apply, however.

The semen can be collected from 30 September onwards, but must be kept in storage for at least another 30 days before it can be exported.

It must come from bulls which have no sign of foot-and-mouth and which have been on the AI centre for at least the previous three months.

The donor bull must also test negative for foot-and-mouth antibodies at least 21 days after the semen is collected.

The AI centre must have been foot-and-mouth free for at least three months and there must have been no cases of the disease within a 10km radius for 30 days before and after the day of collection.

No new animals must have arrived at the AI centre during the previous 30 days and no animal on the site should have been vaccinated against foot-and-mouth.

Most AI centres are expected to qualify, said a UK government spokesman, though the first sales will not actually commence until the end of October.

Meanwhile, all other foot-and-mouth export restrictions have been extended by the EU vets until 30 November.