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Minister Coveney Announces Brucellosis Testing Programme for 2012

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, today announced the Brucellosis testing programme for 2012.

Announcing these arrangements, the Minister said that for 2012, 20% of dairy herds will be subject to the annual round test instead of 50% at present. This, he said, was an important step in the context of the gradual scaling down of the testing programme. The other elements of the testing programme will remain in place.

Minister Coveney stated that significant changes had already been made to the Brucellosis testing programme since Ireland was declared officially free of Brucellosis in July 2009 as follows:

  • the age threshold for the annual round test has been increased from 12 to 24 months.
  • the annual Round test is confined to 50% of the herds in the country.
  • the age threshold for the pre-movement test has been increased from 12 to 18 months, except in the case of bulls, where the risk of transmitting the disease is lower, in which case the age threshold is now 24 months.

The Minister said that these changes had removed some 2.5m animals from the testing regime on an annual basis, with significant benefits to farmers in terms of reduced testing costs, estimated at approximately €7.5m per annum. The decision announced today will remove a further 400,000 animals from the testing regime and should save farmers a further €1.2m per annum.

Concluding, Minister Coveney emphasised that the scaling down of the testing programme was possible only because Ireland had been granted officially brucellosis-free status at EU level in 2009. He thanked all the stakeholders and officials in his Department for the part they played over the years in the successful eradication programme and he urged farmers to continue to be vigilant, particularly in relation to sourcing their stock requirements. He added that, in deciding on the arrangements for 2012, he had to strike a balance between the need to adopt a cautious approach to the scaling down of the controls, on the one hand, and his desire to remove costs both for farmers and the Department, on the other. In this context, the continuing existence of disease on the island is a very important consideration and he believed that the changes which he had made struck the correct balance. His decision has been taken following consultations with the farm organisations and he thanked them for their constructive approach.


Date Released: 28 November 2011