16 August 2002

NIcattle exports to resume again

CATTLE shipments to Northern Ireland are to resume next week, following agreement between London and Belfast on the terms and conditions attached to the trade post-foot-and-mouth.

Movements, which had got under way in April, were suspended by DEFRA two weeks ago, as it objected to Northern Irelands insistence that all animals making the crossing be individually tested for TB.

But a statement from agriculture minister, Brid Rogers, said interim arrangements had now been agreed and trade in cattle could commence from Monday (Aug 19). For the first time, sheep may also make the crossing from GB to Northern Ireland.

But, cattle for breeding will still have to be individually tested for TB during the 30 days prior to shipment, slaughter cattle will not. Breeding sheep will have to be tested for scrapie and caseous lymphadenitis, and subject to standstill requirements. Slaughter sheep will not. &#42

Animal health conditions for the movement of fattening cattle and sheep are still being worked on, says DEFRA.

In 2000, the year before foot-and-mouth devastated the trade, some 9800 breeding cattle, 6300 breeding sheep and 39,400 slaughter sheep were sent from GB to Northern Ireland.