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Ulster relaxes standstill rules

ULSTER IS to remove its 'six day standstill' livestock biosecurity regime, it was announced this week.

Province farm minister Michelle O'Neill said that the rule, introduced in response to historic disease threats, would be lifted from March 4 this year – but made it clear that standstills would be reintroduced if the disease threat increased.

Said Mrs O'Neill: "Following public consultation I have considered the responses from stakeholders and decided that the whole-farm six-day standstill restriction will be removed.

"I know that the relaxation of standstill will be welcomed by the industry and I ask for the support and co-operation of both keepers and market operators to make these arrangements work.

"I am also retaining the ability to reintroduce standstill at short notice, for a longer 13-day period, if the disease risk is heightened."

The Minister added: "I intend to introduce a new system for the registration of livestock dealers later in 2013."

Despite the relaxation, the requirement remains for a six-day period between when an animal leaves a market and when it is returned to market. Ulster's agriculture department will shortly be writing to all livestock keepers and market operators to detail the changes.

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