The View from Northern Ireland: The Department of Agricultural and Rural Development in Ireland (DARD) has announced public awareness sessions regarding consultation on a proposal to introduce compulsory testing of bovines for Bovine Viral Disease (BVD).

DARD is keen to seek views of interested parties on this matter and it said “it is essential that as many people as possible, particularly farmers, have their say on what should be done regarding BVD”.

Six public awareness sessions will take place at various locations across the North. The proposed timetable is as follows:

• Tuesday 3 September, Burrendale Hotel, 51 Castlewellan Road, Newcastle, Co Down. BT35 0JY at 7pm

• Thursday 5 September, Clogher Livestock Market, 44 Station Road, Clogher, Co Tyrone. BT76 0AQ at 7pm

• Tuesday 10 September, Enniskillen College (CAFRE), 2 Mullaghmeen Road, Levaghy, Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh. BT74 4GF at 7pm

• Thursday 12 September, Ballymena Livestock Market, 1 Woodside Road, Ballymena, Co Antrim. BT42 4HX at 10am

• Thursday 19 September, Roe Park Resort, 40 Drumrane Road, Limavady, Co Londonderry. BT49 9LB at 7pm

• Tuesday 24 September, Armagh City Hotel, 2 Friary Road, Armagh, Co Armagh. BT60 4FR at 7pm

These public consultation events are being hosted by DARD officials and should take approximately one hour, depending on public interest.

Attendees will hear about BVD, the voluntary BVD eradication programme, the consultation process and potential legislative proposals regarding the compulsory testing of bovines for BVD.

There will be an opportunity to ask questions of DARD officials and representatives of Animal Health and Welfare Northern Ireland.

The awareness sessions offer a great opportunity for interested parties and farmers to learn more about this disease, what the proposed legislation may be, and provides not only an opportunity to listen to other points of view on this matter but to also have a say.

Farmers participation is a key element to the decision making process and farmers are urged to make every effort to attend and to complete a public consultation document before the official closing date of 27 September 2013.

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