BYGONE DAYS: Extension of scheduled area as more disease cases are declared

There was great concern growing across Northern Ireland during this week in 1941 reported the News Letter after two further cases of foot-and-mouth disease had been confirmed on premises near Dungiven in Co Londonderry.

Saturday, 30th January 2021, 12:00 pm

While the new cases lay within the area which had originally been scheduled on account of the outbreak at Eglinton reported on January 16 it marked a further localisation of the infection and thus it had been deemed necessary to extend the scheduled area to include all districts within a radius of 15 miles from premises found to be infected.

The News Letter noted: “The total area now under restriction includes all those districts to the west of the River Bann from the Bann Mouth to the point where the road from McLoughlin’s Corner to Kilrea crosses the river thence to a point touching the town of Desertmartin on the north-west, thence in a south-westerly direction to a point on the Newtownstewart-Omagh railway about five miles south Newtownstewart and thence north-west to Eire border passing just north of Castlederg. The towns of Kilrea and Desertmartin are excluded from the scheduled area.”

The restrictions which had already been announced in regard to the movement of cattle, sheep, goats, other ruminants, swine, carcases, hay, straw and dogs applied to the extended area.

William Maxwell from Downpatrick makes friends with one of the calves at the Northern Ireland Belgian Blue Club's show and sale at the Automart, Portadown, in December 1990. Picture: Randall Mulligan/Farming Life archives

PURCHASE OF PIGS

The News Letter also noted that until further notice live pigs would not be accepted at collecting depots at Kilrea and Maghera.

The collecting depots at Dungiven, Limavady, Londonderry, Victoria Bridge and Coleraine had all previously been closed.

The News Letter reported: “Pigs on farms within the scheduled district, now extended, must not be slaughtered for sale to roll and ham curers nor should pigs be slaughtered on farms outside the scheduled district for delivery to roll and ham curers within that district.”

Michael McGlade with Woodside Goodman, a January 1989 bull which was supreme champion at the Northern Ireland Belgian Blue Club's show and sale at the Automart, Portadown, in December 1990. The bull was exhibited by Woodside Pedigree Stockbreeders of Newtownards. Included is David Workman of the Northern Bank, sponsors of the event. Picture: Randall Mulligan/Farming Life archives

Purchase of fat cattle and sheep at Kilrea, Maghera and Draperstown centres had also been discontinued and all entries for these centres had been cancelled.

As had already been announced in the News Letter the previous Saturday (January 25, 1941) all exports from Eire of cattle, sheep goats and other ruminants, swine and the carcases of such animals were prohibited with effect from Friday, January 24, 1941, as a result of the notification by the Eire Department of Agriculture of an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease at Coole, Ballycullagh, Co Laois.

And in view of the prohibition of the shipment of livestock to Great Britain which followed the confirmation of the outbreak at Coole the arrangements for the purchase of fat cattle and sheep in three Belfast saleyards had been cancelled.

ASSURANCE BY INSPECTOR

The reserve champion, Lawns Fiesta ET, a November 1988 bull exhibited by Glenavy Belgian Blue Herd at the Northern Ireland Belgian Blue Club's show and sale at the Automart, Portadown, in December 1990. At the halter is Robert Johnston. Picture: Randall Mulligan/Farming Life archives

An assurance that as soon as the position warranted the step permits would be issued for the movement of fat cattle and pigs, was given by Mr J G Rhynehart, Inspector for the Ministry of Agriculture, at a meeting of County Derry Committee of Agriculture in Coleraine on Saturday, January 25, 1941, reported the News Letter.

Mr W Jackson, JP, had asked for information on the subject, “in view of the anxiety of the farmers in the county”.

Mr Rhynehart had said he was sure that members would realise the infectious nature of foot-and-mouth disease and the need for the precautions taken by the Ministry.

Mr H E Thompson, MBE, chairman, said he thought that something might be done about “getting away cattle already fattened for the market”.

June Davis from Ballynahinch, with her Belgian Blue at the Northern Ireland Belgian Blue Club's show and sale at the Automart, Portadown, in December 1990. Picture: Randall Mulligan/Farming Life archives

Responding to this query Mr Rhynehart said the ministry was “quite aware of the position in regard to fat cattle and pigs”. He said that he was sure that farmers would bear with the ministry for a few days until the outbreak had been checked.

IN NORTH TYRONE

Meanwhile on Tuesday, January 25, 1941 the News Letter reported that “a good many extra police” had been drafted into Castlederg, Newtownstewart, Plumbridge, Cranagh, Gortin, Sion Mills and Donemana stations to assist in enforcing the regulations made to check the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.

The News Letter noted: “They have been drawn from the district of Omagh and the southern stations Co Tyrone. The schedule area includes practically the entire area of North Tyrone and extends to Dunbreen, four miles from Omagh. Owing to the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, it has been decided by the Clonleigh Coursing Club to dispense with the February meeting.”