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Positive Step Towards Tackling Aujeszky's Disease

by 5m Editor
14 August 2009, at 11:08am

NORTHERN IRELAND, UK - The Ulster Farmers’ Union has welcomed the recent decision by the European Commission to grant Northern Ireland Annex II status in respect of Aujeszky’s Disease in pigs.

The UFU says the EU Commission decision is an extremely positive development in the move towards Official AD freedom for Northern Ireland and once this is achieved, will allow a significant increase in the local pork and bacon industry’s access to export markets.

UFU Pork and Bacon Chairman, Norman Robson, commented, "It is important that industry and Government continue to work together until official Aujeszky’s Disease freedom is achieved. The Ulster Farmers’ Union has been pushing for eradication since 1992 and late that year, a voluntary Aujeszky’s eradication scheme commenced in Northern Ireland. In 1994, legislation was introduced to make the scheme compulsory for all pig herd owners and at that time, it was estimated that it would take 7 years to completely eliminate the disease. In 2004, at the request of the UFU, the AD working group was set up to move eradication forward. The resulting decision by the EU Commission to grant Northern Ireland Annex II status is a big boost to our animal health status."

Mr Robson added, "Local farmers, DARD and the wider industry should be congratulated for the hard work that enabled blood tests and vaccination to be carried out for the whole Northern Ireland pig herd and enabled us to reach this position. So after a frustratingly slow start and consistent lobbying from the UFU over the past 17 years, we are now on the brink of AD freedom. It is also important to note that as the Republic of Ireland herd does not have the same AD status as NI, anyone who is importing weaners should ensure they are sourced from AD free herds."

Minister Gildernew Praises Progress in Fight

DARD and the industry have been working together since 2004 to achieve Aujeszky’s Free status in order to ease trading restrictions and improve the profitability of the sector. Annex II status is conferred by the European Commission and means they formally recognise the disease eradication programme being undertaken in the region.

Minister Gildernew said, "This formal recognition of Annex II status for the North by the Commission will be welcomed by the local pig industry, who have shown great fortitude and resilience over recent years. This is a critical step towards ultimately achieving Aujeszky’s Disease freedom in the North and reflects the hard work of all the members of the joint Government/ Industry Working group over a number of years.

"My Department plays a key role within the industry working group and will continue to participate as long as we are required. The measures taken by the working group are hopefully paving the way for the eventual eradication of Aujeszky’s Disease. I am keen that they keep up the good work to achieve the ultimate goal of freedom from Aujeszky’s Disease. This achievement would open up a number of export opportunities for the pig industry."

Further Reading

- Find out more information on Aujeszky's disease AD by clicking here.