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Farmers Vindicated in New Hormone Report

by 5m Editor
19 November 2007, at 7:19am

NORTHERN IRELAND - There has been a mixed reaction to the Ruddock Report which reviews the Department of Agriculture's (DARD)actions following the condemnation and slaughtering of farm animals that were wrongly believed to have been administered with illegal hormones (alpha-nortestosterone).

Ulster Farmers’ President Kenneth Sharkey said that the farmers involved had been totally vindicated and their reputations upheld. However, the union also believed that the Ruddock Report had failed to address a key issue: how farmers who suffered additional losses should be compensated.

"The report records that some of the farmers involved suffered because they were restricted from selling livestock, and some farmers were left deeply traumatised by the farm searches conducted," said Mr Sharkey. "For some of the farmers and families concerned, who still feel aggrieved about the trauma and damage to their reputations at the time, or who lost income because their herds were closed, these issues have not been addressed," he added.

DARD's initial response that these casualty animals had the hormone alpha-nortestosterone illegally administered have been proved to be unfounded. The fact that at the time no illegal substances were found on the farms involved, no animals in associated herds tested positive for the hormone, and the hormone was shown to not be occurring in healthy animals, were glaring pointers that the hormone must be occurring naturally in animals which had been injured in some way. The subsequent events were deeply regrettable and led to significant anger in the farming community.

5m Editor