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NBA Supports BVD Eradication Plans

23 September 2010

UK - The National Beef Association (NBA) is firmly behind government plans to eradicate BVD in Scotland and hopes the entire cattle industry, including veterinary practices and farmers, show enthusiasm for the national effort.

It also urges all herd owners who take advantage of the voluntary screening programme that will take place over the next 12 months, and discover they have a persistently infected (PI) animal, to immediately isolate the animal and then despatch it for slaughter.

“Retaining PI’s on farm would be like volunteering to nurse a plague virus. The best place for them is the abattoir and the quicker they take this one-way journey the better,” said NBA Scotland chairman, Hamish McBean.

“They can be isolated and fed to put on weight before being put on the wagon but on no account should they be sold to another farmer, because that completely defeats the drive behind this national eradication exercise.”

“Some owners may think a PI can be safely put through the cull cow ring at auction but even then there is a chance she could be picked up by another farmer and unknowingly be given a chance to spread her expensive virus elsewhere.”

The NBA is pleased that in these cash straitened times the Scottish Government has been able to support the first phase of the campaign to identify PI’s , and erase them from the Scottish landscape, with a £400,000 cash pool to help herd owners with some of the initial testing costs.

“BVD sits like an economic blight on our industry. It is one of the primary causes of cow infertility, which in turn is the biggest single cause of poor herd performance, and everyone in the industry will benefit if it is eradicated,” said Mr McBean.

“The first phase begins today. Breeding herd owners who call on a vet to screen their herds will be given £36 to cover the first half hour of the visit but all other costs will be met by the farmer himself.”

“And if a PI is identified £72 will be available either to help with the follow up test or cover some of the management cost of preventing further, damaging, virus spread.”

“In a years time all Scottish herds will have to test for BVD annually so farmers who volunteer for testing now, and then send PIs down the road, will be well ahead of the game and will enjoy the economic benefits of a clean herd much quicker than those who dally, Mr McBean added.

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