Movement ban on calves looms with BVD curbs

Caitriona Murphy

Movement bans will apply to all calves born after January 1 next year unless the animals have tested negative for BVD.

The new rule is part of the compulsory phase of the BVD eradication programme announced by Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney last Thursday.

Among the main elements of the compulsory programme is new legislation requiring that all calves born on or after January 1, 2013, be tested for the BVD virus and a ban on the movement and sale of all such animals unless they have a negative result for BVD.

Follow-up testing will also be required on farms where a persistently infected (PI) animal is identified. The compulsory phase follows on from the 2012 voluntary programme, in which over 10,000 farmers participated and 450,000 calves were BVD tested.

Mr Coveney said the voluntary phase had provided invaluable information and put in place the building blocks for the compulsory programme.

"For the industry to achieve the full and sustainable benefit from the efforts to eradicate this disease from Ireland, to eliminate this €100m annual cost to farmers generally, making the programme compulsory was a necessary strategic and logical step, otherwise those not participating were putting the significant efforts of their colleagues at risk," he said.

Animal Health Ireland (AHI) chairman Mike Magan said the success of the voluntary programme in Ireland and other countries showed that eradication of the disease in a relatively short timeframe was achievable.

"For the vast majority of farmers, there will be three years of tissue tagging followed by three years of less intensive monitoring," he added.

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AHI is to host a series of information nights on the BVD eradication programme, starting next Monday, October 8, at Corrin Mart, Fermoy, Co Cork at 8pm.

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