Risks from Schmallenberg Virus Must Be Minimised – IFA

Animal Health

IFA President John Bryan IFA has again urged farmers to be extremely cautious when purchasing animals of unknown origin and health status. He said this was particularly important now as over 70 cases of the Schmallenberg virus have been detected in Britain, which could significantly increase the risk of spread to Irish cattle and sheep.

John Bryan said farmers and importers should resist the temptation of the perceived better value, and consider the implications an outbreak of the Schmallenberg virus.

The IFA President said, “With a worrying lack of information available about this new virus, everybody involved in the industry has an obligation to act in a responsible manner that does not increase the risk of this virus reaching our shores, and to protect our national health and trade status.”

John Bryan called on the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney and the Minister for Agriculture + Rural Development in Northern Ireland Michelle O’Neill to adopt immediately an all-island strategy that reduces the risk to the island from the introduction of this disease.

He said stringent controls must now be put in place at all entry points to the island of Ireland, including the intensification of the biosecurity measures for all high risk cargo entering the country through seaports and airports.

Concluding, the IFA President said Irish farmers have invested heavily in raising the health status of the national herd. “The irresponsible actions of a few will not be condoned and cannot be allowed to jeopardise the work and investment made by farmers in attaining the health status we currently hold.”

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