All cattle keepers are being reminded that Scotland’s ambitious plans to eradicate the costly production disease Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) move to the next phase in 2015.
BVD testing is already an annual requirement for Scottish cattle keepers and it is illegal to knowingly sell any animal persistently infected (PI) with the disease. From summer 2015, movement restrictions will be placed on farms that do not have a valid ‘negative’ status for the disease.
The Union is reminding all producers to ensure that their herd’s BVD status is up-to-date and that testing on an annual basis has been maintained. For those herds currently designated ‘not negative’, now is the time to work with your veterinary practice towards a negative status if they are to avoid being caught up in restrictions and additional testing requirements next year.
NFU Scotland President, and qualified vet, Nigel Miller said: “There remains a real desire amongst the vast majority of cattle keepers in Scotland to see us make genuine progress towards eradicating this costly disease from our herds. The high level of testing carried out and the disease levels found suggest that eradication is well within our grasp.
“More than 87 percent of Scottish herds are already designated BVD negative under the Scottish scheme. The message for those whose herds are ‘not negative’ is that phase four is designed to close down potential infection in such herds and the new requirements have teeth.
“From June 2015 onwards, the Scottish Government plans to place ‘not negative’ herds under movement restrictions. Unless destined for slaughter, all animals in such herds must be tested individually and be found to be BVD virus negative prior to movement. With the change in rules, it is likely that tissue tag testing will become routine in ‘not negative’ herds, bringing Scotland in line with the Irish eradication programme.
“Producers with ‘not negative’ herds and who are not already working with their vets on an action plan, should do so now. Achieving a negative BVD status before the summer will avoid the herd being caught up in the restrictions and additional testing requirements.
“As we move to the next phase, it is worth reminding all cattle keepers to work with their vets and keep their testing status up-to-date. Allowing annual checks to slip further than 13 months will also trigger movement restrictions until testing is carried out.
“It must also be borne in mind that it is now a legal requirement that animals known to be persistently infected with the disease are not traded and can only move direct to slaughter. Stopping the movement of these highly infectious beasts is crucial to halting the spread of disease.
“We are entering the end phase where regulation is inevitably tight to drive forward eradication and avoid the virus regaining any hold. Fast progress will reduce the risk to the 87 percent of herds that are negative for BVD. Vaccination and biosecurity will remain vital as we work to close this costly disease down for good.”