New ovine export centre launched in Northern Ireland

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​Animal Breeding Europe (AB Europe), a leading supplier of assisted breeding services in the UK, is expanding its operations with a new ovine export centre based in Northern Ireland (NI).

​Designed to provide NI pedigree sheep breeders with the opportunity to globally export their flock genetics, the centre will provide facilities to collect, freeze and quarantine both semen and embryos and arrange shipping.

Located close to AB Europe’s existing premises near Belfast, it will be managed by its existing NI team.

The facility will operate similarly to the company’s other existing centres based at Edinburgh and Malvern, however in this instance working alongside DEARA and pedigree breeders.

AB Europe's Thomas GeraintAB Europe's Thomas Geraint
AB Europe's Thomas Geraint

"We are thrilled to announce our new facility, the first ovine export centre to open in NI for 15 years,” explained AB Europe’s Geraint Thomas.

"We have developed the new centre in response to an increase in enquiries for NI sheep genetics from overseas markets such as the US and South America.

“Furthermore, NI sheep breeders have previously had to ship their rams and ewes to mainland UK for collection.

“However Bluetongue virus has brought this avenue to an end.

"We look forward to the first collection booked in for July.”

National Sheep Association NI regional manager, Edward Adamson commented: “The new facility provides a welcome marketing opportunity for the province’s pedigree sheep breeders.

“Following the challenging trading constraints imposed by Brexit, the centre marks the start of a new journey with the potential for considerable global trade for NI pedigree ovine genetics."

NI Hampshire Down breeder, Kevin McCarthy added: “AB Europe has to be commended for working hard to meet with DAERA’s EU requirements to develop this welcome new facility.

“Previous collections from my Ballycreelly flock have taken place at AB Europe’s Malvern centre for shipping to various overseas markets.

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“However, Bluetongue and Brexit movement restrictions combined with the prospect of new emerging diseases have made it impossible to continue.

“Without doubt this new Belfast centre will be well received by myself along with other NI breeders to help meet with a growing number of export enquiries for germplasm.”

AB Europe offers sheep breeders a wide range of assisted breeding and associated services to help improve quality and profitability of their flocks.

The operation’s highly qualified teams of veterinary specialists, technical staff and consultants are hand-picked to provide clients high quality on-farm and on-centre services at a number of centres throughout the UK: including Belfst.

These centres enable AB Europe to provide facilities and expertise in artificial insemination and embryo transfer as well as new technologies that are available from the company. AB Europe also works closely with sheep breeders, veterinarians and government agencies to deliver worldwide import and export services for semen and embryos.

In addition to the company’s training and consultancy work with sheep farmers and veterinarians in the UK, the business also offers training, consultancy and dedicated artificial breeding programmes for governmental organisations right around the world.

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