§ Mr. William Ross
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what consultations he has had with the Government of the Irish Republic regarding blue-ear pig disease; and if he will make a statement;
(2) what steps he has taken to prevent the transfer of blue-ear pig disease into Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Hanley
Following confirmation of blue-ear pig disease in Great Britain the Department of Agriculture issued immediate guidance to farmers and others on precautions to be taken to prevent the introduction of the disease into Northern Ireland. The thrust of the advice is that only essential visitors, vehicles and equipment should be allowed into pig units and that anyone intending to import pigs from Great Britain should seek veterinary guidance before so doing. The full guidance is contained in a press release of 14 June 1991, a copy of which has been placed in the Library.
The Department of Agriculture has previously advised veterinary practitioners of the nature of the disease and its clinical signs and pathology.
Senior veterinary and other officials of the Department of Agriculture have met with their opposite numbers from the Department of Agriculture and Food in Dublin to discuss the implications of the spread of the disease and determine a common approach, with European Community guidance, in order to minimise the potential introduction of the disease to the island of Ireland.