Source imported livestock responsibly

The View from Northern Ireland: The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) is advising livestock importers to source animals responsibly and reminding importers of the disease risks when importing livestock and horses into Northern Ireland.

While DARD manages these risks by having import controls in place it is important that importers are aware of the potential of introducing diseases which could affect livestock. It is therefore important to ensure that any animal being imported meets the relevant health requirements of licences and certificates. As part of import controls, check tests on imported animals are carried out, based on a veterinary risk assessment.

If an imported animal subsequently tests positive for a notifiable disease the animal may have to be slaughtered to protect the disease status of Northern Ireland. Importers should always bear in mind that in these circumstances compensation may not be payable. Therefore it is essential that importers ensure all pre-movement checks are completed accurately, and any pre-movement tests or treatment are carried out effectively.

Importers should also ensure that paperwork is correct when bringing livestock into Northern Ireland as incorrect paperwork may cause a delay on entry, or a need to re-export the animals. For animals coming from Great Britain importers will need to apply for a specific Import Licence from Veterinary Service Trade Section, (tel. 028 90 520989) prior to their arrival and ensure the animals are accompanied by an export health certificate, signed by a Vet in GB. Any livestock being imported from another EU Member State must be accompanied by a completed Intra-Trade Animal Health Certificate.

If in any doubt about the requirements for importing livestock please contact Veterinary Service Trade Section before bringing the animals into Northern Ireland.

Further information about imports of livestock can be found at the Animal Health and Welfare section on the DARD website here.

Advice report issued this month by the Veterinary Service Trade Section of DARD