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Committed to care of animals

Officials at the agriculture conference

Barbados remains committed to the preservation and protection of its animal resources and as such, has embarked on several initiatives aimed at ensuring this valuable resource remains safe from diseases.

So said Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management, Michael King, as he addressed the opening ceremony of the 21st Conference of the OIE Regional Commission for the Americas today at the Accra Beach Hotel.

Speaking on behalf of Minister, Dr. David Estwick, King noted that Barbados had embraced the mandate and philosophies of the World Organisation for Animal Health, the body which is responsible for animal health and the prevention and control of animal diseases.

And to this end, Government has sought to remain vigilant in the conduct of the island’s trade relations in animal and animal products.

Among the initiatives King listed were the development and implementation of sanitary import regulations, border controls, field surveillance and laboratory diagnoses; a national bovine tuberculosis and brucellosis survey in which 90 per cent of local cattle farmers participated resulting in the conclusion that the island was free from these diseases; the eradication of the Tropical Bont Tick, making Barbados the only Caribbean island once previously infected to achieve such a feat; and the continuity of an avian and swine disease surveillance programme.

The Permanent Secretary also expressed the hope that the four-day conference would be an opportunity to bring some of the major issues affecting small island states to the fore.

“It is my wish that through this conference, greater appreciation of the many challenges that small states are confronted with, as they relate to matters such as market access to animal products and vulnerability to the incursion of animal disease will be elucidated. For it is the responsibility of all states to play their part in maintaining international animal health standards,” King said.

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