Calls for crackdown on BVD offenders
The Department of Agriculture has been urged to adapt a name and shame campaign against farmers who persistently hold on to infected animals.
The latest figures from the national BVD eradication programme show strong progress is being made but more action could be taken if the 'name and shame policy' was fully implemented, urged the ICMSA's Pat McCormack.
Mr McCormack said he was aware that neighbouring farms were notified in only 50pc of the cases where restrictions had been applied.
He said peer pressure was a very significant factor in this kind of situation and the Department had committed to a policy of informing neighbours of those retaining PI calves.
Overall the rate of retention has reduced dramatically since the 2015 rollout of restrictions on farms that keep PI animals.
"Given the success of the on-farm restrictions in making those farmers who had previously retained PIs get rid of them, it makes complete sense to continue ensuring that anyone holding a PI longer than seven weeks is restricted," said Mr McCormack.
"The longer these PIs are retained the longer the programme will continue with farmers losing money through increased testing costs and overall herd health suffering also.
"Allocating the resources that will give us a faster removal will lead to faster eradication. It's a 'win-win' situation for all involved in the programme - farmers, Department and wider industry alike," said Mr McCormack.