New rules to eradicate BVD come into force in UK

New rules in the battle to eradicate bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) from the UK cattle herd come into effect on 18 May.
calendar icon 18 May 2020
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According to reporting in Scotland’s Press and Journal, from Monday 18 May, farmers will be required to house all animals identified as being persistently infected with BVD separately from the core herd.

Policymakers expect that the new requirement to isolate the persistently infected (PIs) will protect the national herd from re-infection and serve as a deterrent against holding infected stock.

Official inspections in the UK are suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, but farmers have been warned that those herds retaining PI animals will have unannounced visits from inspectors to ensure suitable isolation facilities and protocols are being adhered to.

While PI animals need to be isolated, the rules allow for a low-risk non-PI animal to be housed alongside a PI for welfare reasons.

Farmers must also practice good biosecurity between PIs and the rest of the herd, with cleaning and disinfection regimes and changes in outerwear and equipment between the different groups.

NFU Scotland’s animal health and welfare manager Penny Middleton said great strides have already been made by Scottish cattle keepers in eradicating the costly disease from herds. She added:

“However, persistently infected animals are the biggest cause of spreading BVD and best practice involves removing them from a herd as soon as they are identified.

“Where herds choose to retain these high-risk animals then housing and isolation can prevent further spread of infection within the herd, but more importantly can help protect neighbouring herds from infection.

“Many of those neighbours will have invested significant time and money in BVD-eradication plans that risk being undone through any contact with PI animals”.

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