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Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2000/2001

Date: 18 April 2001

Venue: Room 135

The Chairman called the meeting to order in Public Session at 10.50am.

1. Special meeting with The Minster on Foot and Mouth Disease situation.

1.1 The Chairman informed the Members that he had called this special meeting due to the recent further outbreaks of Foot and Mouth disease in the Province. He informed members that the Minister would be attending the meeting at 11.00am to update the Committee on the situation.

Mr Douglas entered the meeting at 10.56am.

1.2 The members discussed various concerns including regionalisation; vaccination of animals; permits for the movement of animals for slaughter and for welfare reasons; illegal movements of stock; and the importation of sheep into the Province.

The Minister entered the meeting at 11.07am along with the Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Bob McCracken and DARD official Mr Stuart Johnston (Grade 5).

2. Update on Foot and Mouth Disease Situation.

2.1 The Chairman welcomed the Minister and her officials and invited the Minister to make a statement.

2.2 The Minister made a statement on the current position in relation to the most recent outbreaks in Ardboe and Cushendall; the spread of the virus through sheep (all sheep farmers are being asked about purchases prior to the Meigh outbreak); the loss of regionalisation; the helpline available for farmers; vaccination; culling arrangements; the employment of extra veterinary manpower from the private sector; inter-Departmental arrangements; and the need for fortress farming.

2.3 Following the Minister's statement, Members asked questions covering the cancellation of a cull in Armagh; the link between the outbreaks and the illegal importation of animals; prosecutions in relation to illegal movements of animals; precautions at the ports and the Border; the hiring of private vets; the total number of animals to be culled in the Glens; the updating of DARD website to show exclusion zones; financial compensation for the non-farming industries that have suffered due to the outbreaks; the staging of large events and the burying of infected animals.

2.4 The Chairman thanked the Minister and her accompanying officials, and they left at 12.12pm.

3. Any Other Business

3.1 Forthcoming Committee Business. The timetable for a number of items of forthcoming business was discussed and agreed.

The Chairman brought the meeting to a close at 12.16pm.

Ian R K Paisley

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