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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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TB testing restrictions in force in NI for 3 weeks

There are restrictions surrounding TB testing in Northern Ireland to coincide with the DAERA’s new Northern Ireland Food Animal Information System (NIFAIS)’s launch on Monday, June 12th, 2023.

It will replace the existing Animal and Public Health Information System (APHIS), which has operated for twenty-five years.

This phase, according to DAERA, brings in all remaining bovine functionality and opens the system up to external stakeholders such as herd keepers, markets, abattoirs and private veterinary practitioners (PVPs).

Migrating all the remaining bovine data to NIFAIS from APHIS is a “complex” process, and to reduce the risk of data loss or corruption, there will be restrictions on TB testing during a three-week period from May 29th to June 19th, 2023.

In a statement to, a spokesperson said:

“This testing restriction period will be taken into account in any assessments for breaches of the cross-compliance requirements for TB testing.”

“However, it remains the herdkeeper’s responsibility to comply with TB testing requirements irrespective of these arrangements.”

The TB testing restrictions will operate as follows:

  • 1 (w/c May 29th, 2023): only reactor herd tests will be tested on Monday, and results read on Thursday.
  • 2 (w/c June 5th, 2023): no testing.
  • 3 (w/c June 12th, 2023): No TB testing to commence on Monday. Only reactor herd testing from Tuesday – Saturday.
Removing reactors

The department has outlined that there may be “a short” delay in removing reactors due to a reduction in the processing of valuations on APHIS and the generation of movement licences.

Any disruption, it said, will be “kept to a minimum”, and reactors must remain isolated until removed.

DAERA will work with all parties to ensure any delays in paying compensation are “minimised”.

The body has confirmed that it will still be possible to export animals during the three-week period.

However, exporters were previously advised to plan ahead with their PVP to ensure any required tests are completed in time and prior to the restriction period, which is now, at the time of publishing this article, in force.

Tag suppliers will be unable to access NIFAIS during the weekend before Monday, June 12th, 2023.

NIFAIS was first launched for DAERA staff and bovine tag suppliers in July 2017.

This phase marks the end of stage 1 of the project for bovine functionality, with stage 2 planned to go live in late 2024, covering other non-bovine species.

NIFAIS will eventually fully replace APHIS as the database used by DAERA and its stakeholders.

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