Agriculture Minister expresses concern over EHC ‘segregation and separation’ requirements
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Mr Poots said he is also “opposed to the re-tagging requirements for animals moving from GB to NI, which go against traceability”.
The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs has been working with the farmers’ unions, GB market operators and other stakeholders to put in place arrangements to facilitate movements of livestock from GB to NI.
Traders in GB, exporting livestock markets, and sales, are working with the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) and Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) to put the necessary arrangements in place to support the movement of cattle and sheep.
Mr Poots commented: “My department and Defra have worked with the EU Commission to introduce changes to existing EU legislation to make these movements possible.
“The movement of animals between Great Britain and Northern Ireland has been subject to conditions for many years.
“Import controls are important to maintain our high health status, preserve export markets and support industry.
“It is important for breeders of top genetic merit animals in Northern Ireland to retain access to markets both in the UK and in Europe.
“The new arrangements will achieve this objective.
“I am pleased to note the efforts being taken by the livestock industry across the UK and, notably, sales organisers, to welcome livestock from Northern Ireland and to improve biosecurity for all the animals which attend these events.
“Purchasers can buy with greater confidence and if animals remain unsold they can be returned to their premises of origin without impediment.”
The minister continued: “I am, however, concerned with the requirements for segregation and separation, as I believe that they will not work in practice.
“I am also opposed to the re-tagging requirements for animals moving from GB to NI, which go against traceability.
“As DAERA Minister, I have ensured pragmatic approaches to the unprecedented challenges which we have faced over the past year, and I can assure the farming community that I will continue to do so and to press the UK Government and the EU to find solutions which work on the ground.”
Details of the new easements and on moving livestock from Great Britain to Northern Ireland are available on the DAERA website: