Action To Eradicate BVD

SCOTLAND, UK - Mandatory screening is being introduced in Scotland as the next step in eradicating the highly infection cattle disease BVD.
calendar icon 17 June 2011
clock icon 3 minute read

Speaking ahead of tonight's British Veterinary Association dinner, Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead announced that, from December 1, farmers with breeding cattle herds will be required to screen their herd each year for Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD). All herds must have had their first test by the end of November 2012.

Mr Lochhead said: "We have worked closely with the cattle industry, as well as with vets and scientists, to develop a scheme that will eradicate BVD from Scotland. During the winter we provided over £160,000 to help 3,500 farmers carry out testing, but we must move to mandatory testing if everyone is to enjoy the benefits that eradication will bring.

"In response to calls from the industry, annual testing will become mandatory from December 1. I know that farmers will want to ensure that they get BVD out of their herd before December 2012 so that can carry on their business as usual."Further stages of eradication will be subject to consultation.

Key features of the mandatory screening scheme include:

  • Keepers of breeding cattle herds must ensure their herds are screened for BVD each year, with a first test carried out and recorded by the end of November 2012.
  • All calves born to any other type of herd must be tested shortly after birth
  • A range of testing methods will be available and samples can be taken by vets, milk recorder or farmers themselves, using official ear tags, which take tissue samples when applied.

BVD is a highly infectious cattle disease with significant economic and welfare implications. The nature of the disease means there is a significantly reduced incentive for farmers to eliminate BVD from their herds unless their neighbours, and those from whom they buy cattle, do likewise.

Following a consultation in summer 2010 which demonstrated widespread support for an eradication scheme, the Scottish Government offered subsidised screening from September 2010 to March 2011 through vets, with over 3,500 herds benefitting at a cost of over £160,000.

The range of testing methods that can be used are:

  • Four quarterly bulk milk tests
  • One bulk milk test, with blood or tissue from all the dry cows
  • Bulk milk test from all the first lactation cows
  • A sample of blood from five youngstock aged nine to 18 months from each separately managed group. Samples can include cattle aged six to nine months, but the sample size must be increased to 10
  • Tissue test of all calves born in the year
  • Pooled PCR (virus test) of all calves (will be best for a small number of herds).
  • In January 2011 the Scottish Government published a consultation paper on mandatory annual screening for BVD, to which all key industry, veterinary and science stakeholders responded favourably. Laboratories will have to be approved by the Scottish Government to conduct tests.

    Detailed guidance about the screening process will be sent to farmers and vets in the autumn.

    TheCattleSite News Desk

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