Dáil Éireann - Volume 591 - 02 November, 2004

Written Answers. - Animal Diseases.

  400. Mr. Neville asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the status of Johne’s disease following the change in policy introduced in January 2003 when her Department discontinued culling infected cattle. [27295/04]

  Mary Coughlan:Johne’s disease is a notifiable disease under the Johne’s Disease Order 1955. That position has not changed. Until early 2003, my Department’s approach was to slaughter the affected animals and on occasions other animals in the herd, and pay compensation. However, it was apparent that this approach was not effective.

Consequently this approach was dispensed with and a strategic review of the approach to tackling the disease was initiated. It is clear that nothing less than a fully integrated strategy involving all of the relevant stake holders and with each playing a defined role will be effective. Accordingly, the review has involved consultation with all of the relevant interests. The process generated a number of very useful proposals of a practical nature.

It is clear that effectively tackling the problem of Johne’s disease can only be achieved over a number of years. The strategy being developed will therefore involve both short-term and long-term elements. My Department, in conjunction with others, is now working on finalising a number of the short-term elements and will shortly be reverting to stakeholders in relation to these. Once this has been done, it is my intention that all elements of the new national strategy will be quickly drawn together. In recognition of the fact that research and the evaluation of a number of diagnostic and screening methods for Johne’s [959] disease and the interim provision of diagnostic support at the central veterinary research laboratory will be a feature of any effective national strategy, an amount of €240,000 has been allocated for this purpose in 2004.