Farm Ireland

Saturday 24 March 2018

Department to 'name and shame' farmers holding BVD calves

Letters will shortly be sent to neighbouring farms

ICMSA deputy president Pat McCormack
ICMSA deputy president Pat McCormack
Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

The Department of Agriculture will shortly send letters to the neighbours of farmers holding onto calves persistently infected (PI) with the BVD virus in their herds.

Officials said they have moved to restrict herds which have retained PI animals in recent weeks as a step before effectively 'naming and shaming' those retaining Bovine Viral Diarrhoea infected animals.

A spokesman for the Department said there has been a "very positive response" to the restriction move with considerable numbers of farmers who had been retaining PI animals now moving them directly to slaughter.

"As the next step in the process, the Department will shortly be sending a letter to the neighbours of farmers continuing to retain PI animals in their herds informing them of the situation," it stated.

"The names of the farmers retaining PI animals have not been published in any other format."

A decision was taken by the BVD Implementation Group to continue tissue tag-sampling for BVD for at least another 12 months due to the levels of PI calves in the national herd.

Pat McCormack, deputy president of the ICMSA, said farmers had signed up in "good faith" to a three year programme.

He said they had complied with the rules but were facing additional costs.

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"From day one, the measures in relation to the removal of PI's have not been adequate, whether it's the compensation, the notification of neighbours or the farmer's vet so that they could advise the farmer," said Mr McCormack.

"Compliant farmers followed the recommended guidelines of the eradication programme and simply cannot be expected to continue to pay for testing unless the PI issue is fully dealt with as quickly as possible."

The figures from Animal Health Ireland show a drop in the numbers with 3,788 identified as positive herds. However, 98.9pc of calves have tested negative this year.

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