The principal diseases are notifiable.  Any person who suspects the existence of a disease must notify the Department’s local district veterinary office.  Restrictions on movement will be placed until the all-clear is given.

There are parallel laws in relation to the disease eradication and control emanating from the European Union.  For example, the BSE s governed by EU-based orders whereas bovine tuberculosis and foot and mouth disease, and brucellosis are governed by orders under the domestic legislation.

Tuberculosis and Brucellosis are the most prominent cattle diseases in Ireland.   Under the tuberculosis scheme, eligible animals are tested annually.  Only animals that pass the TB test within 12 months may be traded.  Reactors (suspected to be affected by TB) are culled.  Contact animals also may be culled.  Movement restrictions may be placed on farms where reactors are found.

Brucellosis control requires the testing of animals annually.  Female animals and bulls over 12 months must pass the blood test within 30 days of the movement.  Where is an outbreak, all female animals in a herd are culled.  Movement restrictions are imposed.  A period of at least four months must elapse after there has been an outbreak.


The annual testing is followed up by focused strategic additional testing including blood testing.  There is a comprehensive research program aimed at preventing TB from spreading by wildlife.

Responsibility for arranging and paying for the first herd test every year rests with farmers.  Farmers have primary responsibility for protecting their own herds and are encouraged to assist the Department’s district veterinary offices in research, as necessary.

Ireland was officially declared Brucellosis free in 2009.  After that, a controlled reduction in testing was commenced.  After 2010, only animals of 24 months or over were required to be tested.  The pre-movement threshold applied for female animals over 18 months and bulls over 24 months.


The main elements of the disease compensation regime are the on-market farm evaluation scheme, the income supplement scheme, the depopulation grant scheme and the hardship grant scheme.  Eligibility conditions must be met.  Entitlement to compensation is conditional on complying with the requirements of the disease of animal legislation and EU animal health regulations.

Under the fair market valuation scheme, the market value subject to ceilings are payable where

  • herds are stable i.e., not transient or dealer
  • where the owner/ keeper has complied with legal and other requirements relating to disease eradication scheme and cattle identification.

In the case of dealer /  transient herds, compensation is not paid in excess of s certain ceilings.

The market value is the equivalent price that might reasonably have been obtained for the animal if it has not been affected by the disease. There is a ceiling per animal. If the owner or keeper does not accept the department’s valuation there is a provision for an appeal. If no agreement can be reached following an appeal, then the matter is referred to an arbitration panel.

Grants & Supplements

Where the herd is de-populated, the owner /keeper may qualify for a de-population grant.  They are paid for each animal removed since the holding was restricted on the condition that the owner keeper agrees to the de-population at the time specified.

Income supplement is payable in cases where the disease breakdown resulted in the loss of more than 10 percent of the animals in a  herd and depopulation is not deemed appropriate. Payment in respect of each animal removed as a reactor from a herd subject to a maximum of 100 animals qualifying. The rate of income supplement is prescribed.  Conditions apply to eligibility and cessation.

A hardship eligibility period may run from 1st November to 30th April.  The scheme allows alleviation of costs incurred, where owner/keepers holding are restricted under a herd test and where animals are retained and fed during periods of restrictions.

There are conditions for eligibility, including that there may not be my milk sale income and no off-farm income.  The grant may allow eligible keepers with a payment of €250 per month for up to four months.  Tax clearance is required where payments over €10,000  arise under the scheme.

Other Diseases

The national program for the eradication of Aujeszky disease in pigs was launched in 2002.  In 2010, Ireland achieved EU Annex 2 status.  This is a significant milestone in officially eradicating the disease.  Phase 3 was launched in 2010 with all herds with 6 or more pigs requiring blood sampling.

Avian Influenza requires all domestic poultry and captive birds to be registered.  It applies to owners and dealers.  It covers domestic poultry even a relatively small number.

Blue tongue affects cattle, sheep, deer, goats, and other more exotic animals.  There are import conditions for live susceptible animals.  Some blue tongue restricted areas apply.  They are subject to control under EU rules. There is mandatory post importation testing for bluetongue.

BSE is most common in cows over 11 years.  Ireland is required to test all slaughtered bovines over 48 months for BSEC.

Leucosis – Ireland was declared Leucosis-free in 1993.


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Draft Articles; The articles on this website are in draft form and are subject to further review for typographical errors and, in some cases, updating and correction. It is intended to include references to the sources of materials and acknowledgements in the final version. The content of articles with [EU] in the title and some of the articles in the section on Agriculture are a reproduction of or are based on European or Irish public sector information.

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