A Reminder of the Ban on Moves of BVD Untested (BVDU) Animals to Slaughter coming into effect

Date published: 26 August 2021

Following the announcement in July by Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots MLA, cattle that have not been tested for Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) will be prohibited from moving to slaughterhouses with effect from 01 September.


From 01 September, DAERA will take enforcement measures in respect of untested cattle moved in breach of the BVD Eradication Scheme Order (Northern Ireland) 2016 (the BVD Order). It is an offence to move an untested animal or to have possession of an untested animal that has been moved in contravention of the Order. This applies to herdkeepers, market operators and slaughterhouses. An untested animal may only move under licence issued by the Department or for disposal as an animal by-product.

As part of the enforcement measures, untested cattle (BVDU status) moved in breach of the BVD Order to slaughterhouses will be highlighted on the Animal and Public Health Information System (APHIS) and identified for the official veterinarian.  This will initiate enforcement action that may lead to prosecution.

Any person found guilty of moving, or possessing, an untested animal shall be liable, on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding £5,000 or in the case of an offence committed with respect to more than five animals, not exceeding £1,000 for each animal.

To remain compliant, keepers should check that all animals in their herd born since 1 March 2016 have been tested. BVDU status animals should be sampled at the first opportunity - either be a blood sample taken by a vet or by inserting a BVD sample official ear tag and sending the tissue sample to an approved laboratory. Keepers can find out the BVD status of their animals using APHIS Online, from an APHIS herd list (available from DAERA Direct offices) or on the Animal Health and Welfare Northern Ireland (AHWNI) database. BVD non-negative statuses are also now listed on TB test charts to encourage the sampling of any untested animals when they are gathered for TB testing.

Notes to editors: 

  1. AHWNI is responsible for the delivery of the Northern Ireland Bovine Viral Diarrhoea Eradication Scheme.  For more information on the operation of the Scheme, please contact AHWNI (email info@animalhealthni.com, tel 028 7963 9333) or visit the AHWNI website.
  2. 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 failure of a minority of herdkeepers to sample their cattle to establish if they are infected or not.
  3. The Bovine Viral Diarrhoea Eradication Scheme Order (Northern Ireland) 2016 (referred to above as the ‘BVD Order’) requires the sampling of all calves within 20 days of birth.
  4. The Order prohibits the movement of untested cattle to other herds or slaughterhouses.
  5. This enforcement action has been initiated by DAERA to achieve compliance with the sampling of BVD untested (BVDU) animals in order to identify infection and reduce the risk of BVD virus being spread within herds, and to other herds.
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  7. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office: pressoffice.group@daera-ni.gov.uk.

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