§ Rev. Ian Paisley
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what action he has taken to ensure that imports of livestock do not erode the animal health status of the Province.
§ Mr. Ancram
Under the single market trade in live animals between member states is subject to common rules. Within these rules the Department of Agriculture is carrying out all the checks permitted on imported animals at the point of destination in Northern Ireland to ensure that the required trading conditions have been met.
Submissions have been made to the European Commission seeking additional trade guarantees against the introduction of a number of diseases from which Northern Ireland can claim freedom and for which there are no common trading rules.
Northern Ireland importers and the farming community have been made aware through media publicity and a leaflet and poster campaign of the potential disease risks associated with imported livestock.