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Animal Shipment Delayed

Local livestock farmers, who have cattle and goats to be shipped this month from the United States, are advised that the shipment has been delayed until early January.

Cayman's Department of Agriculture (DoA) was informed by the shipping company that the shipment could not proceed as scheduled, because of insufficient availability of specialised livestock containers. The new target date is the week of 5 January 2009.

Assistant Director of Agriculture (Acting) Brian Crichlow noted, "This unexpected situation has arisen as a result of a number of these specially outfitted containers not returning to Florida as scheduled, from a previous shipment to another country."

He added, "Although a partial shipment was possible, this option was logistically impractical, and the DoA decided to delay the shipment until all the animals can be imported together."

This initiative is being led by the DoA and the Ministry of Agriculture, working in conjunction with the Cayman Islands Agricultural Society. The shipment will contain 102 head of cattle, and 22 goats.

The new breeding stock was selected and purchased in October by local farmers, with the assistance of the Florida Department of Agriculture. The animals have since been in quarantine, and underwent rigorous mandatory tests to ensure that they met the necessary health standards, allowing them to be safely exported to Cayman.

Arrangements have been made for the animals to continue to be housed at the quarantine facility. While the delay does represent additional related costs, these will be absorbed by government.

The DoA will continue to monitor the animals' conditions during the extended quarantine, and livestock insurance will be extended to cover the additional period.

Farmers with any queries are invited to call the DoA at 947-3090, or visit the office in Lower Valley.

For further information contact: Lennon Christian