The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has clarified the Brucellosis Testing Requirements for 2015.

(i) A pre-movement test is mandatory for all female animals aged 24 months or more and bulls aged 24 months or more that are being moved from a holding, except when being moved direct to slaughter. The validity period for the pre-movement test is 60 days. (The 60 day pre-movement test is being retained until Northern Ireland obtains Officially Brucellosis free status, which is expected in the middle of 2015).

(ii) The Annual Brucellosis Round test is being discontinued. However, under the Brucellosis monitoring programme, some risk-based testing will be scheduled, in particular, for animals that may have been imported from countries that are not free of Brucellosis. Should you be in possession of such animals you may be required to have them presented for testing.

(iii) It remains a legal obligation to report all abortions in cattle and to submit the aborted fetuses, if available, for testing for Brucellosis to the Department’s Regional Veterinary Laboratory and/or to have the animal that aborted sampled for Brucellosis as soon as possible by the Veterinary Practitioner for the herd.

(iv) Where deemed appropriate on veterinary grounds, a farmer may be required to carry out a Brucellosis test on a herd or on an animal, regardless of age e.g. where disease is suspected or an animal from a herd has given a positive result to a test.

Farmers are also reminded that it is in their interest to be aware of the necessity to adopt good bio-security practices to avoid the entry to and the spread of disease on their holding.

Particular attention, it says, should be given to maintaining the security of boundary fences, minimising contact between the herd and neighbouring or other cattle, quarantine of cattle entering the holding (e.g. from outfarm, another herd, mart, show), isolation of sick animals and general good hygiene measures with, for example, the provision of disinfection footbaths and overalls for personnel visiting the premises.