Vets welcome Northern Ireland’s ‘negligible risk’ status

British Veterinary Association (Northern Ireland Branch) President Jean Wales has welcomed the attainment of BSE Negligible Risk Status for Northern Ireland.

She said that the news is testament to the years of hard work and joined-up efforts of government, farmers, industry and vets – all of whom are pivotal to the success of any disease control programme.

We must, of course, continue to work together to keep up high standards of biosecurity and surveillance in order to safeguard animal health, which is vital to our economy.

“This is excellent news for Northern Ireland’s agri-food industry, especially as we look ahead at the trade deals which will need to be forged in the coming year or two, further demonstrating that our beef is produced to a high quality and standard of animal health for consumers in the UK and across the world.”

Northern Ireland’s Chief Veterinary Officer Robert Huey agreed:

“This is a significant achievement that has been many years in the making. Northern Ireland has had no cases of BSE since 2012 and this announcement is a testament to the tireless efforts of our beef producers and finishers, our red-meat businesses, vets, government officials and many others who have worked together to maintain a system of interlocking safeguards against BSE that protects our public and animal health.

The move to negligible risk status will help improve the global image of Northern Ireland as a disease-free area and could assist in opening up access to new markets across the world for our premium exports.

The decision to upgrade Northern Ireland’s BSE status was taken at a meeting of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) in Paris last week.

The same get-together also saw Scotland securing BSE Negligible Risk Status. The last case of BSE in that country was recorded in 2009. Scotland is also TB-free.