Coveney wants tougher BVD policy

Moves to identify BVD-risk farmers to their neighbours and to local vets are expected, after Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney said they threaten to delay progress towards BVD eradication.
Coveney wants tougher BVD policy

He called for a better flow of information on the location of these specific risk herds to neighbouring farmers and service providers, including vets, so that those at most immediate risk may take measures to reduce risk.

He also highlighted the risk of animals being sold in the market place from the small number of herds which are not participating in BVD eradication, and another relatively small number of farms on which Persistently Infected (PI) animals are being retained.

Minister Coveney said these are critical issues to be dealt with by the BVD Implementation Group (BVDIG), the industry body promoting and managing this industry-led eradication programme.

He has submitted proposals to BVDIG on how these matters can be addressed, and warned that further delays in dealing with these issues will only prolong and add to the cost of eradication and put at risk the investment already made by farmers, who have invested €9m on testing each year, and by the State through its financial and other supports to the programme.

He warned that movement restrictions are on the way for farms not participating in BVD eradication, or holding onto PIs.

The movement restrictions will be geared towards protecting the vast majority of ‘clear’ herds.

Farms that retain PI animals (other than recently born animals, or within seven weeks of the first test) will also be ruled out of the proposed €295m Beef Data and Genomics Programme, and successor programmes, and improved BVD support arrangements.

The improved BVD supports he announced for 2015 offer €140 for each beef breed PI born in a suckler herd that is shown to be disposed of to a knackery within five weeks of the first test, or €90 for calves disposed of within seven weeks.

Minister Coveney announced a payment of €100 for each dairy breed PI heifer calf born in a dairy her and disposed within five weeks, or €50 within seven weeks.

IFA Animal Health spokesman Bert Stewart welcomed the BVD supports, but ICMSA Deputy President Pat McCormack pointed out that the compensation packages have consistently ignored beef breeds within the dairy herd.

Mr McCormack supported notification of neighbours and vets where PIs are held on farms, and said this should be dealt with directly by the Minister, and not “fudged” by passing it back to the implementation group.

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