The key points announced today by the minister for environment and rural development, Ross Finnie are:
* ending of the requirement for sheep and goats going to slaughter to be individually tagged (other than with the flock mark tag)
* ending of the restrictions on the number of movements of cattle
Commenting on these changes, the minister said:
'I am extremely pleased to be announcing the further lifting of movement restrictions. In particular, I am delighted that we can now allow a second movement for sheep and can end the requirement to have individual number tags for sheep going to slaughter.
'While I am well aware that the autumn control arrangements have been burdensome, these changes do mark a significant step forward, and will allow us to carry on through the FMD recovery stage with renewed confidence.
'However, we cannot yet contemplate removing controls altogether. Continuing to be vigilant against reinfection is essential not only for animal health reasons, but is critical if we are to see a return to exporting - something which we are all working tirelessly towards.'
A letter will shortly be issued to all cattle and sheep producers, detailing the above changes.
Animal movements will still be under licence and will continue to be subject to the 21 day rule.
A second movement (for sheep and goats) here refers to a further movement following a first movement since these autumn movement arrangements were introduced on 1 September 2001. The second movement is from farm to farm either direct or through a market. A second movement from farm to market then direct to abattoir is also permitted.