Category: Archive

Foot and mouth reviewed

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

A report on Northern Ireland’s handling of the foot-and-mouth crisis last year has found that better policing of sheep imports by the Department of Agriculture could have prevented the virus reaching the North.

But the report also praises Brid Rodgers’s Department for its handling of the crisis itself.

The report by business advisors PricewaterhouseCoopers said that the immediate ban on animal movements with Britain prevented the outbreak in the North from becoming an epidemic.

But poor security on farms made an outbreak in the North almost inevitable, once the disease had arrived in Britain.

Smuggling was the culprit, the report concludes.

The early days of the cull saw vets — amusingly — running out of ammunition with which to kill animals, and there was also a shortage of vets who had been trained to kill animals properly.

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More emphasis should be placed in future on the fate of farming families as well, said the report. The emotional trauma can be devastating to remote households.

Just over 50,000 animals were destroyed, more than 80 percent of them were sheep, and a total of _7.5 million was paid to farmers in compensation.

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