Disease hits Northern Ireland again
By Philip Clarke, Europe editor
NORTHERN Ireland has recorded its fourth case of foot-and-mouth disease in a dairy herd in the Ardboe area of County Tyrone.
The outbreak is on a farm adjacent to another holding which was found with the disease ten days ago.
Northern Ireland agriculture minister Brid Rodgers described the development as disappointing, but not unexpected.
All  animals on the farm have already been slaughtered as part of the 1km pre-emptive cull which was carried out around the original outbreak.
Any risk has therefore been minimised.
Despite the latest outbreak, livestock sales direct from farm to abattoir in disease-free parts of the province have recommenced today (23 April).
Animals may also be turned out from winter housing to grass, so long as this does not involve movement along or across public roads.
Cattle must not be released on land which has had sheep on it within the previous 14 days. But the Ulster Farmers Union warned of major problems.
Union president Douglas Rowe Winter feeding supplies are exhausted and it is essential animals are given access to fresh grass.
Banning animals from crossing roads would prevent many from turning out livestock at all. A compromise was needed urgently.
Mrs Rodgers has indicated that she will allow movement for welfare reasons under strict protocols to be announced soon.
Meanwhile, south of the border, Dublin has given permission for livestock marts to be used as assembly centres to increase supplies to abattoirs.
Artificial insemination services also got the go-head on Monday (23 April).
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