Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Top-level talks on criminals behind cattle disease

Michelle Gildernew

Agriculture minister Michelle Gildernew is to meet the Chief Constable Matt Baggott to target criminals who are spreading a deadly livestock disease.

Criminal and fraudulent activity is preventing DARD from eradicating the disease in the hotspots of Lislea and Keady, Co Armagh, the minister said.

And DARD staff have been unable to track down the criminals who were behind a number of sinister incidents, including leaving an infected calf foetus at the home of a DARD official.

“A large number of stored and recently taken samples have been analysed and compared with the DNA from the dumped foetus. As yet, no match has been found. Veterinary Service are continuing their investigations in liaison with the PSNI,” Ms Gildernew said in response to an Assembly written question.

The minister said herd incidence for brucellosis has been decreased from 1.01% in October 2008 to 0.33% in July this year, but clusters of disease in Lislea and Keady are holding up the drive to eradicate brucellosis from Northern Ireland.

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