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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 January 2007, 16:46 GMT
Pigs are clear of foot-and-mouth
There are more than 650,000 pigs in Northern Ireland
Samples taken from pigs at an abattoir in Northern Ireland are clear of foot-and-mouth disease, the Department of Agriculture has said.

Chief Veterinary Officer Bert Houston revealed foot lesions were detected on Monday on animals at a County Antrim abattoir.

Mr Houston said the results ruled out suspicion of foot-and-mouth disease as well as swine vesicular disease.

"We picked up this suspect case as part of routine surveillance," he said.

"We expect to have cases like this from time to time and this shows our alert systems are operating effectively."

Movement restrictions are being lifted on the abattoir and the farm in County Down following the negative test results.

The testing took place at the Institute of Animal Health.

"Good bio-security is a best line of defence for these diseases and I would like to thank the abattoir and the farm concerned for their vigilance and co-operation on this issue," Mr Houston added.

More than 50,000 animals were culled in Northern Ireland during the 2001 outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, most of them sheep and 7.5m was paid to Northern Ireland farmers in compensation.

Across the UK, the 2001 outbreak led to the slaughter of 6.5m animals and is thought to have cost the UK economy 8bn.

Counting the cost of NI virus
26 Jul 02 |  Northern Ireland
How did foot-and-mouth spread in NI?
19 Apr 01 |  Northern Ireland
Foot-and-mouth disease timeline
30 Mar 01 |  Northern Ireland

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