Unannounced inspections to check that Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) positive animals are being isolated are due to commence in the coming weeks, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has announced.
Herds which retain a BVD positive animal will be visited by DAERA inspectors to confirm compliance with the 2016 BVD Order, which requires isolation ‘within housing to prevent direct or indirect contact with other susceptible animals’.
Herd keepers who have not isolated BVD positive animals may be prosecuted, and if convicted may be fined up to £5,000 for a single animal, or up to £1,000 per animal if more than 5 animals are involved.
A DAERA Spokesperson said: “Herd keepers are initially informed of the requirement to isolate BVD positives by Animal Health and Welfare Northern Ireland (AHWNI) when test results are reported. The Department will now be issuing an isolation warning letter if the animal is still in the herd for a significant period after the positive test date. This will be followed up by an isolation inspection visit if the animal remains in the herd."
Welcoming the announcement, Dr Sam Strain, Chief Executive of AHWNI, said: “We know that infected animals present a very high risk of further infection to the rest of their herd, to neighbouring herds and to herds purchasing pregnant stock from BVD infected farms.
"Industry stakeholders in the NI BVD Programme are keen to see an acceleration of progress towards eradication and have asked for enforcement measures to be implemented. These actions by DAERA should help to reinforce the veterinary advice that farmers who own BVD Positive cattle must urgently take steps to deal with the virus in their herds and cull Persistently Infected cattle promptly.”
Notes to editors:
- The number of BVD positives has fallen significantly in recent months, however progress towards the complete eradication of BVD from cattle herds in NI is being delayed by the retention of BVD positive animals by a minority of herd keepers.
- The Bovine Viral Diarrhoea Eradication Scheme Order (Northern Ireland) 2016 (referred to above as the ‘2016 BVD Order’) requires the isolation of BVD positive animals.
- This enforcement action has been initiated by DAERA to confirm compliance with the isolation of BVD positive animals in order to reduce the risk of BVD virus being spread within herds, and to other herds.
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