Poots reminds farmers to report all cattle abortions and stillbirths for brucellosis testing

Farmers must continue to be vigilant against brucellosis, Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots has said.

By Edwin Poots MLA

Lagan Valley

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n late 2020, routine testing for brucellosis came to an end in Northern Ireland, five years after Officially Brucellosis Free (OBF) status was achieved in October 2015.

Agriculture Minister, Edwin Poots said:Our Officially Brucellosis Free status was hard won and was the product of many years of effort by the farming community in partnership with the Department. Following the attainment of our OBF status, farmers here have been able to benefit from reduced testing requirements which culminated in the ending of routine testing almost a year ago.

“However, the maintenance of our OBF status requires us to remain vigilant against any suspected reoccurrence of this costly disease. While we continue to carry out surveillance testing, including bulk milk sampling and undertaking post import testing, farmers also have a key role to play in our efforts to keep this disease out of Northern Ireland.”

The Minister urged farmers to continue to comply with ongoing surveillance measures and practice good biosecurity.

He said: “Thankfully it is now nearly ten years since the last case of brucellosis in Northern Ireland. However, we must not relax our attitude to the reporting of abortions, stillbirths and calves dying within 24 hours of birth or any other suspicion of brucellosis.

“It is crucial that we continue to stay free of this highly infectious disease. Stakeholder cooperation has been instrumental in bringing us to this stage and farmers must continue to keep up their efforts to achieve excellent biosecurity standards and adopt appropriate stock replacement policies.”

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