Written Answers. - Equine Arteritis Virus.

Seán Power

Question:

98 Mr. Power asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry the steps, if any, he is taking to protect the Irish horse breeding industry from equine arteritis virus.

Following the recent ourbreak of Equine Viral Arteritis (EVA) in the UK my Department has held consultations with various interests in the Irish bloodstock industry with a view to maintaining Ireland's freedom from the disease. EVA has been designated a notifiable disease in Ireland. It is included in a voluntary code of practice which owners and managers of bloodstock have been strongly advised to follow. Thorough implementation of the code of practice would provide good protection against the disease.

The movement of horses into and within the EC is governed by Community legislation which is fully implemented by my Department. With the greater freedom of movement permitted by single market structures it is of the utmost importance that importers take responsibility for ensuring that they do not jeopardise the national industry by importing diseased animals.