Roll-out of new Johne's programme announced

Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Animal Health Ireland today announced that the Johne’s Disease Implementation Group (JDIG) has agreed the commencement of a new programme for the control of Johne’s Disease in Ireland.

Building on the experience of the pilot control programme for dairy herds (2014-2016), the design of this new broadly-based control programme has been agreed by the Implementation Group, taking account of the recommendations of the Johne’s Disease Technical Working Group.

The programme will be introduced in two phases, the first phase commencing early in September 2017, and the second phase expected to start early in 2018.

From September 2017, herdowners across the country will be encouraged to register with the programme.

In the first phase, registration will be confined to those herdowners who previously enrolled or participated in the dairy pilot programme (2014-2016).

Animal Health Ireland will be in contact with these farmers in the coming weeks to invite them to register and, subject to registration, to offer them access to financial assistance for a number of programme measures, including:

  • ancillary testing to clarify the status of animals that have given prior test-positive results on blood or milk samples (the financial support for this measure being provided by DAFM).
  • on-farm risk assessment (VRAMP), delivered by a veterinary practitioner, trained and approved by AHI (the financial support for this measure being provided by the milk processor).

A series of regional workshops, convened by milk processors, will take place in the final quarter of the year, aimed at promoting an awareness of Johne’s disease prevention and control and the benefits of registering with the Irish Johne’s Control Programme.

Details of Phase 2 of the programme, to start in early 2018, will be provided following the completion of an international consultant’s report on the relative effectiveness of a number of proposed, new programme measures.

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Commenting on this development, Mr. Joe O’Flaherty, CEO of Animal Health Ireland, praised the efforts of all parties – the Technical Working Group, the industry stakeholders on the Implementation Group and his colleagues in AHI – for bringing discussions to the point of agreement.

He said, “This new programme builds on the knowledge and experience gained from the pilot programme, a review of international best practice, and extensive consultation with stakeholders. We have decided to take a phased approach to implementation, with Phase One, starting in September this year, acting as a bridge to the new programme for those herds that participated in the pilot programme.

“We expect Phase 2 to start in early 2018, following the completion of an international consultant’s report on the relative effectiveness of a number of proposed, new programme measures.”

Concluding, Mr. O’Flaherty said “The programme has drawn on best practice internationally in relation to the control of Johne’s disease and I am confident that the approach that is now being adopted in Ireland will prove its effectiveness over time.

“I encourage all farmers in the first place to inform themselves about what the programme has to offer, perhaps by attending one of the awarness events planned for later this year, or by visiting the AHI website. For those farmers who want to become actively involved, I would encourage them to respond positively to the targeted communications they will receive from AHI in the coming months.”

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