Reducing Cattle Disease On Each Side Of The Border

IRELAND AND NORTHERN IRELAND, UK - The National Beef Association (NBA) is looking forward to assisting with the construction of an Island of Ireland health scheme for cattle and hopes to make a positive contribution when Ministers, officials and stakeholders from both sides of the Border meet later this month (April) to discuss its installation.
calendar icon 7 April 2010
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The development of an All-Island animal health and welfare strategy was agreed under North South Ministerial Council (NSMC) arrangements, which aim to raise commitment to closer co-operation, and a joint-approach, to easing health problems across the island of Ireland.

The NBA’s Northern Ireland branch discovered, through soundings taken within the Province, while it was preparing for last month’s NI Beef Expo 2010, that its members are keen to take the beef sector forward by assisting with the construction of a co-ordinated cattle health programme which could rid their herds of the twin scourges of bovine viral diarrhea (BVD) and infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR).

“We would call on the Department that it is absolutely vital to discuss and agree an eradication programme for endemic diseases like BVD and IBR as part of the united initiative and hopes the discussions will not just focus on notifiable disease controls” said Oisin Murnion, NBA chairman.

Mr Murnion explained: “Each of these diseases is an expensive burden on many businesses and there is growing realisation of just how much they not only impair productivity but also tarnish the image, and the price, of breeding cattle offered on both domestic, and international, commercial and pedigree markets,”

“BVD in particular undermines business performance because it damages fertility and significantly reduces the number of suckler-bred calves, each of them an income creator in its own right, born in the Province each year.”

“The NBA, and its members, therefore support an organised effort to defeat each of these diseases, and in so doing not only reduce the cost of turning out good beef cattle, but also assist in the building of our national and international reputation for good stockmanship and effective disease control management.”

“Disease has no respect for land boundaries so this can only be done if the problems created by a shared land border between the North and South of Ireland are managed – and this in turn can only be done through a series of cross-border meetings, and discussions, in which the NBA is very pleased to have a part.”

“The development of the All-Island Animal Health and Welfare Strategy emphasises the importance of developing broadly aligned complimentary policies on disease control, which could ultimately establish the free movement of animals throughout the island.”

“This is an aim well worth achieving and so the NBA continues to be hopeful that the development of an all-Ireland health program will move forward and the Association will do all it can to assist with its delivery,” Mr Murnion added.

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