Farm Ireland

Friday 24 November 2017

BVD fight takes step forward

Martin Ryan

The push to make BVD a notifiable disease has moved a step closer following a commitment from the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, to apply "the necessary legislation" to ensure that movements of persistently infected (PI) carriers are restricted.

Following a meeting last week, Animal Health Ireland (AHI) chairman Mike Magan said that they had secured an assurance from the minister that the necessary legislation would be completed in time for a start up of the scheme next year.

Both AHI and the minister are anxious to ensure that any legislation introduced will not impede the trade, but it was agreed infected animals should not be allowed free movement once they have been identified.

Mr Magan said that there is an acceptance that there may be hardship cases for some farmers, especially with suckler herds, for which there may be a case for support on animal welfare grounds.

"Compensation is really a matter for the farm organisations, but the minister did point out that there is no additional money available and any financial support from the Department of Agriculture towards a BVD scheme will have to come from a reduction in funding for other areas," he said.

While it is believed that more than 90pc of livestock herds in the country have been exposed to BVD, sample testing suggests a current infection rate of around 25pc of herds, with an average of less than two chronically infected animals per herd.

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