Brucellosis Control Surveillance (NI) 2024

Brucellosis is an animal disease included in the list of animal diseases established by the World Organisation for Animal Health and in Annex III to Regulation (EU) No 2021/690.

How the Department of Agriculture, Enviroment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) controls brucellosis

Following the last confirmed case of brucellosis here on 28 February 2012, Northern Ireland was formally recognised on 6 October 2015 as an Officially Brucellosis Free (OBF) region of the EU under former Council Directive 64/432/EEC, since replaced by Regulation (EU) 2016/429 (“the Animal Health Law”).

DAERA continues to test bovine animals for brucellosis as necessary in accordance with this compulsory public prevention and disease surveillance scheme (“the Scheme”).
The Scheme provides for a surveillance protocol which comprises the following measures:

  • Follow-up of all reported abortions
  • Monthly bulk milk sample examination for all dairy herds
  • Abattoir sampling of cull cows
  • Post-import sampling of eligible animals.

Bovines identified as reactors are compulsorily removed from herds for immediate slaughter to prevent the spread of the disease. Slaughter of reactor animals and other in-contact animals may extend to full depopulation of a herd if determined to be necessary to prevent further contagion. Additional regulatory requirements are imposed on herd owners in the event of full herd depopulation. 

Full details of the Department's statutory powers and its surveillance policy are published on the  "Brucellosis" pages of the website.

These pages explain how the Department provides a subsidised service for the costs of tests, analyses and other screening measures and how farmers may receive compensation for losses incurred as a result of the Scheme and how compensation may be claimed and calculated.

Please note that this scheme came into effect as of 1 January 2024.

State Aid

Both the subsidised service and the compensation paid to farmers under this Scheme constitute State aid within the meaning of the Articles 107 – 109 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (consolidated version). All aid paid under this Scheme is in full compliance with Commission Regulation (EU) 2022/2472 and, in particular, with Article 1 and Article 26 of that Regulation (Official Journal reference OJ L 327 21.12.2022, pages 1 to 129).


The Scheme is open to all small and medium-sized agricultural holdings (farms) within Northern Ireland active in the primary production of agricultural products (Article 1 of Commission Regulation (EU) 2022/2472) that:

  • are subject to the Department's compulsory public prevention and disease surveillance under the Scheme; and
  • in relation to compensation payments, incur losses caused by an outbreak of brucellosis formally recognised by the Department (Article 26.10 of Commission Regulation (EU) 2022/2472 refers).

Objectives of the Aid

The objectives of this Scheme are to continue to maintain the OBF status of Northern Ireland and to compensate farmers for losses in respect of animals slaughtered by the Department under the Scheme.

Subsidised service

The "Brucellosis" pages of the website provide, as stated above, full details of the health checks, tests and other screening measures carried out under the Scheme (see links to related articles above). In accordance with Article 26.15 of Commission Regulation (EU) 2022/2472 the aid will not exceed 100% of the eligible costs.

Eligible loses

Aid will be limited to losses caused by an outbreak of brucellosis formally recognised by the Department in accordance with Article 26.10(a) of Commission Regulation (EU) 702/2014 (i.e. animals slaughtered as part of the Department’s brucellosis prevention and eradication control programme).

Calculation of compensation

Compensation will be calculated in relation to the market value of the animals slaughtered immediately before any suspicion of brucellosis arose or was confirmed (Article 26.9 of Commission Regulation (EU) 702/2014 refers) and will be limited to the following maximum aid intensities:-

Brucellosis reactors and in-contact animals

75% of the animal’s market value based on an individual valuation or on an average of market prices (whichever is the lesser). Pedigree reactors and in-contact animals are also valued individually with the comparator being the average of market prices for similar non-pedigree animals plus £300 (the lesser of the two amounts being paid as compensation). Compensation rates for brucellosis reactors and in-contact animals are published monthly on the News Articles section of the DAERA website.

In no situation can compensation therefore exceed 100% of the market value (Article 26.13 of Commission Regulation (EU) 702/2014 refers).

Compensation payments rely on individual valuations carried out by a livestock valuation officer of the Department and, in the case of a disagreement over the Departments valuation, on a second individual valuation carried out by an independent valuer. There is ultimate recourse, for both the farmer and the Department, to a Valuation Appeals Panel appointed by the Department.

A Senior Livestock Valuation Officer from the Department is responsible for ensuring that valuations are consistent across Northern Ireland and also to monitor current market values in order to ensure that valuations reflect market trends.

Reductions to losses eligible for Aid

The maximum amount of loss eligible for aid will be reduced by:

  • any amount received under insurance schemes for the relevant losses (applicants to the Scheme having to provide a declaration stating whether such payments have been received) (Article 26.13 of Commission Regulation (EU)702/2014 refers); and
  • costs not directly incurred due to the disease, which would otherwise have been incurred (Article 26.9 of Commission Regulation (EU)702/2014 refers).


There is ultimate recourse, for both the herdkeeper and the Department, to a Valuation Appeals Panel (“the Panel”) appointed by the Department.

Submission of appeal

The appeal (together with the required fee of £100 in the case of a herdkeeper) must be sent to the Appeals Secretariat within 30 working days of the determination of market value to which it relates.

Appellants must indicate at the time of submission of the appeal whether or not they wish to attend the Panel’s review of the appeal. If appellants opt to attend the review or nominate someone to attend on their behalf, they will be contacted and notified of the date, time and location of the review. Appellants are notified in writing of the outcome and reasoning for the decision reached.

The Appeals Secretariat notifies appellants of the Panel’s decision as quickly as possible, giving the facts upon which their appeal was considered, the reasons for the decision reached and the effect of that decision on the payment of compensation.

Glossary of terms

Brucellosis reactors

Animals that have failed a serology blood test for brucellosis and are thus subject to slaughter and related compensation.

In-contact animals

Other animals in a herd that have been in close contact with animals that have had brucellosis confirmed.

For more information please contact:

TB/Brucellosis Policy Branch
Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs
Jubilee House
111 Ballykelly Road
BT49  9HP

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