The cull marks the final phase of a cross border food alert which resulted in many pork products being withdrawn from shops at the end of last year.

In addition, more than 4,300 cattle and hundreds of tons of meat will be destroyed. The cull could last three weeks and will cost the executive millions of dollars. Rendering and disposal of animal carcases and withdrawn meat products will be carried out by Glenfarm Holdings in Glenavy. Farmers who had initially been told they would receive nothing for their animals will now receive about 70% of their market value. Speaking at a north south ministerial meeting in Dublin, Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle Gildernew said her officials would continue to work closely with their Irish counterparts. "We have agreed to strengthen our cooperation in dealing with major incidents of this nature and requested our officials to review and if necessary, revise the existing arrangements," she said.