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Last Updated: Monday, 6 August 2007, 15:34 GMT 16:34 UK
NI exempt from foot-and-mouth ban
DARD officials disinfectant mats at the port of Larne outside Belfast
DARD officials disinfectant mats at the port of Larne in County Antrim
Meat and dairy exports from Northern Ireland will not be affected by the foot-and-mouth outbreak in Surrey, the European Commission has said.

The EC said it saw no need for further measures after the UK government imposed its own ban on the animal and produce exports.

The government has imposed a ban on the movement of livestock in England, Scotland and Wales. NI is exempt.

Ulster Farmers' Union president Kenneth Sharkey welcomed the news.

"We are delighted with that decision. It is what we expected because there is really no justification for introducing a ban in Northern Ireland."

Briefing

Earlier on Monday, Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew briefed a Stormont committee on moves to ensure foot-and-mouth disease does not spread to Northern Ireland.

The meeting came amid efforts to identify the source of the outbreak in Surrey.

Ms Gildernew set out the local response to the emergency.

Northern Ireland has imposed a ban on all cattle, sheep and pigs from Britain, but there are currently no restrictions on the movement of livestock within NI and across the border.

A temporary ban has also been placed on the import of fresh meat and unpasteurised milk from the rest of the UK.

Disinfected mats have also been installed at airports and seaports through which all passengers and vehicles entering the province must travel.




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