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Minister Creed Urges Further Push Towards Eradication of BVD

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D. today called for a further push towards the final eradication of Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD). Incidence of the disease has fallen by 75% since the start of the compulsory programme in 2013 when 0.66% of calves born were PI (Persistently Infected). In 2016 to date, only 0.14% of calves born have been found to be PI.

The Minister commented that ‘as we are now in this crucial fourth year of the programme, and recognising the significant investment in the project so far, it is critical that we sustain efforts towards the ultimate goal of eradication’.

The Minister paid tribute to the critical role that farmers have played in progressing the eradication programme through their investment in the testing of in excess of 2 million calves each year since the programme’s inception. He also acknowledged the BVD Implementation Group, chaired by Animal Health Ireland, for its leadership and management of the programme.  

Minister Creed stressed the need for vigilance amongst farmers and the necessity to adopt strong bio-security measures on their farms. He went on to advise that ‘Farmers should ensure that boundary fences are adequate to prevent nose to nose contact between farms.  Care should be taken with grazing management, particularly in the case of breeding animals. Furthermore, it is important that purchased animals are isolated, especially to prevent contact with breeding animals in the early stages of pregnancy.”

Minister Creed recalled that his Department has put in place certain support arrangements to assist farmers with the early disposal of persistently infected (PI) animals. These supports were proving effective in minimising the number of PI animals being retained on farms.

The Minister also confirmed that his Department was continuing to restrict the small number of herds where PI animals were retained. This was a particularly robust measure that included a prohibition on the sale and purchase of animals. The Department was also writing to herd owners informing them in instances where they have a neighbour retaining a PI animal. This action was being conducted along the same lines as the notification system that applies in the case of TB breakdowns. These measures were also having a positive impact in reducing the number of retained PI’s. 

 

Note for Editors

A key study undertaken by the Scottish Agricultural College prior to the commencement of the programme identified that the eradication of BVD would rid the industry of a disease that was costing the farming community some € 102m annually.

More information on the supports provided by the Department can be found at:

http://www.agriculture.gov.ie/press/pressreleases/2015/december/title,87445,en.html

View Press Release as a PDF:  DAFMPR 42/2016 (pdf 367Kb) 

 

Date Released: 12 May 2016