NI ministry slammed over disease

27 September 2001

NI ministry slammed over disease

By FWi staff

NORTHERN Irelands Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) has been criticised for poor judgment and communication.

These failings lead to an outbreak of brucellosis and the slaughter of hundreds of cattle, reports BBC Online.

The Northern Ireland Audit Office (NIAO) reported that the Agricultural Research Institute, based at Hillsborough, slaughtered 794 cattle at a cost of 1.3 million after eight pregnant cattle introduced brucellosis to the herd.

The cattle were purchased in March, 1999.

But the institute was not aware of an increase in the incidence of brucellosis in Northern Ireland in late 1998, John Dowdall, auditor general of the NIAO, told BBC Online

“The failure to test the vendors herd for disease prior to purchase was a shortcoming,” he told the website.

This suggested there was a need for improved communication by DARDs Veterinary Service.

The report by the NIAO highlights that compensation payouts because of the spread of brucellosis had increased from 200,000 in 1996-97 to 9.7m in 2001-01, amounting to a total of 22.5mn in the last five years.


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