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BVD Call Out to All Beef and Dairy Farmers

07 February 2012

SCOTLAND, UK - Scotland’s cattle farmers are being encouraged to feed in their views on how the Scottish industry’s planned eradication programme for Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) moves forward. The Union will commence a series of BVD meetings this week and members are currently being surveyed on the programme’s timetable.

Around 40 per cent of Scottish cattle herds show signs of exposure to BVD, a disease responsible for production losses of between £37 and £90 per cow in beef and dairy herds respectively. Scottish livestock stakeholders, including NFU Scotland, have joined with the Scottish Government in developing the Scottish BVD Eradication Programme.

The Scottish Government is expected to introduce legislation on mandatory annual screening for breeding herds, a compulsory element in the BVD eradication scheme, in the next few weeks. That is likely to require herds to have their first screening test before 1 February, 2013. The proposals for following stage, to start in December 2012 and aimed at reducing the spread of infection, are under development and a Scottish Government consultation paper will be produced in the spring. This will consult on three main areas:

  • A ban on knowingly selling Persistently Infected (PI) cattle
  • A requirement that herd status must be declared at sale
  • Some movement restriction on not-negative herds

NFU Scotland is currently surveying its members on the timing of this final eradication phase and whether 2013, 2014, 2015 or never may be most appropriate. More than 200 responses have been received to date.

The Union is also going on the road during February and March to inform beef and dairy farmers of the plans and take their views on implementation. The Union will be accompanied at each meeting by a number of speakers who have significant experience of the economic impacts of BVD and how to eradicate it. These include vets, farmers, scientists and official Animal Health staff.

The meetings will be chaired by NFU Scotland President Nigel Miller who said: “Over the past two years, the vast majority of producers involved in BVD discussions have endorsed joint industry efforts to eradicate this costly disease from Scottish herds.

“The legislative process to bring that about will begin in the next few weeks with mandatory herd screening for breeding herds coming onto the Scottish statute books. However, industry consultation on issues around sales of PI animals, declaring herd status and potential movement restrictions on non-negative herds is still open. Most importantly, the timetable for these further steps is up for discussion.

“All NFU Scotland members received a survey on the Scottish BVD eradication programme options with our monthly magazine last month and the same survey has been posted on line. Responses already run into the hundreds and I would encourage all members who keep beef or dairy cows to read the survey and feedback comments.

“In addition, we are out on the road during February and March supported by some of the UK’s leading experts on BVD, its impact on herds and its eradication. I encourage every farmer in the areas where the meetings are being held to attend, particularly those worried or uncertain about what the proposals for BVD eradication could mean for their business.”

TheCattleSite News Desk



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