O’Neill Praises Herdkeepers On Brucellosis Progress

Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill has praised efforts by herdkeepers to comply with brucellosis surveillance testing and in implementing biosecurity practices aimed at keeping their herds free of disease.

The Minister was speaking as she welcomed the news that no further confirmed cases of bovine brucellosis in the North have been discovered in the past 18 months.dn_screen

She said: “The latest statistics tell us that the current confirmed brucellosis incidence is at zero, with the most recent infection being in February 2012. With the intensive winter testing period approaching, we are at the half way point of the three year freedom from infection period required to achieve Officially Brucellosis Free status.

“A tremendous amount of hard work and co-operation has been shown by farmers and DARD staff to get to this point, not to mention the fortitude of those herd owners whose herds have succumbed to this brutal disease.”

The Minister added: “With a little bit of daylight since the last confirmed case, the temptation is for complacency to creep in. But we must ensure that the dark days of the recent past, when we had up to six new infected herds per week, remain firmly in the past. To do that there has to be continued co-operation with routine surveillance testing for brucellosis, a commitment to reporting all instances of bovine abortion and attention paid to practising on-farm biosecurity.

“If these mainstays of the brucellosis eradication programme are adhered to then we have the best chance of achieving our ultimate aim of Officially Brucellosis Free status in the spring of 2015.”