Time to get tough on BVD, says Union

Dessie Fulton
Dessie Fulton

The Ulster Farmers’ Union says DAERA’s tougher stance against individuals undermining the efforts of the entire industry to eradicate BVD is needed if Northern Ireland is ever to be rid of the disease.

The comments were made following DAERA’s first BVD related conviction.

UFU animal health and welfare committee chairman, Dessie Fulton (pictured) said: “Under no circumstances do we condone individuals flaunting scheme rules or taking advantage of another farmer for personal gain. It is irresponsible. We welcome this conviction and the penalty imposed.”

Under the BVD Eradication Scheme Order (NI) 2016 it is unlawful for animals that have tested positive for BVD to be moved from a keeper’s holding except for disposal or directly to a slaughterhouse. The industry has also pushed meat plants to no longer accept BVD positive animals in a bid to encourage the prompt disposal of positive animals.

“It is in the economic interest of a farm business to remove BVD positive calves as soon as possible. PI animals will shed the BVD virus at high levels throughout their lives and are the greatest risk of infection within a herd,” said Mr Fulton.

The UFU is reminding farmers to ensure all animal have a negative test result for BVD when buying and selling cattle.

Mr Fulton said: “This is particularly important to check when buying or selling directly with another herd keeper. Changes to APHIS earlier this year have made it much more difficult for animals without a BVD negative status to move through a mart.”