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Meeting Of Minds Over EU Animal Health

14 July 2008
Irish Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Food

IRELAND - Last week the Irish Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, met the newly appointed EU Commissioner for Health, Ms Androula Vassiliouto discuss the current face of animal health and further development plans.

The Minister said the meeting had been extremely useful and allowed for a full discussion of a very wide range of important issues in relation to animal health and welfare, pesticide controls and on-farm inspections, which fall within Commissioner Vasiliou's brief.

Minister Smith raised the issue of the age at which cattle are required to be tested for BSE.“I believe that it is appropriate to introduce a significant adjustment in the age of testing in the light of the substantial progress made in the incidence of BSE in the cattle herd, and I asked the Commissioner to give urgent attention to finalising this point,”said Minister Smith.

The Minister and Commissioner also exchanged views on a range of other animal health and welfare issues including the bluetongue epidemic in Europe, labelling, EU import arrangements and issues relating to animal welfare and transport.

The Minister explained to the Commissioner Ireland's long-standing view that appropriate advance notice should be given in all cases for on-farm inspections for cross compliance. He said that there was an opportunity to address this issue in the CAP Health Check which is now being negotiated. The Commissioner indicated that she understood Ireland's position but took the view that the current provisions in relation to the items within her remit were necessary to protect food safety and animal health.

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