NI MV-free status remains unchanged, says UFU

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The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) has welcomed clarity from Northern Ireland’s (NI) chief veterinary officer Robert Huey, confirming that NI’s Maedi Visna (MV) free status remains unchanged.

UFU deputy president William Irvine said: “Our members are glad to have received official confirmation from chief vet Robert Huey on NI’s MV-free status. MV has been detected in NI bred sheep in recent days, and several flocks are under movement restrictions after tracing infection within a premises.

“This has caused concern among our members however, DAERA are continuing to investigate this case vigorously. We fully support the thorough approach taken by DAERA to trace, test and remove all infected animals. It is vital to protect the wider sheep industry.

“We encourage any farmer who is contacted by DAERA about carrying out further trace testing in their flock, to facilitate sampling as soon as possible to conclude this veterinary investigation quickly. This is an extremely busy time of year for sheep farmers with lambing season already under way for some or fast approaching, but sampling is critical to keeping their flock safe and preventing any further spread. I urge all members to do their best to accommodate DAERA’s requests.

“The UFU will continue to engage with DAERA and industry stakeholders in the coming weeks, in order to learn from outcomes of the investigation and to develop a strategy which protects our industry from this disease in the future.”

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