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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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The ins and outs of new BVD rules: What you need to know

The new raft of BVD trade rules for export to the ROI are now in effect.

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs says that exporters moving cattle to the Republic of Ireland for breeding and production  must now meet new requirements.

The new rules are a result of the EU’s approval of the ROI BVD Eradication Programme.

They will not impact cattle moving directly to slaughter, the DAERA confirmed.

The BVD requirements of the Export Health Certificate (EHC), must be met to export to member states, which either have an:

  • EU-approved BVD Eradication Programme;
  • Or have achieved BVD-free status.
New BVD Rules

In a statement, a DAERA spokesperson explained the following:

  • Cattle moving to the ROI for breeding and production must meet BVD requirements. These depend on the animal’s pregnancy status;
  • May include additional testing beyond the statutory tissue tag test;
  • In some cases, may include a period of at least 21 days in official quarantine;
  • In all cases, every animal in the exporting herd must have a negative test result. This can be a direct negative result (BVDN status on APHIS) or an indirect result (INDNEG status on APHIS). If there are any animals with BVDP, BVDI, DAMPI, OFFPI, BVDU (untested and born since compulsory testing in NI started – 01.03.2016) or ‘blank’ status (untested and born pre 01.03.2016), then the export cannot be certified. The only exception is for calves <35 days on the date of export, which can be BVDU.
Virus and antibody testing
  • Where virus testing is required, this can be the tissue tag result when the animal was a calf. (BVDN status on APHIS);
  • Where an antibody test is required ‘pre-departure’, this must be in the 30 days before the date of export;
  • If females over 12 months old are to be exported as non-pregnant, the keeper and certifying aPVP will have to sign declarations of each animal’s pregnancy status;
  • Some of the options to export cattle require the animals to be kept in an ‘Approved Quarantine Establishment’;
  • Some options to export cattle require the exporting herd to have ‘Establishment Free from BVD’ status. Any keeper who believes they meet these requirements should complete an EF2 application form, and DAERA will consider this. If you have met the requirements, DAERA will issue a letter (EF3) awarding ‘Establishment Free from BVD’ status, for use as a veterinary support certificate to enable this option to be selected by the aPVP on the export health certificate. This letter will be valid for 14 calendar days. Further exports beyond this will require a new application for ‘Establishment Free from BVD’ status.
  • The department says that most herds in NI are “unlikely” to meet the requirements of ‘establishment free from BVD’ status. It says this is due to the conditions which must apply to animals which have moved into these herds in the previous 12 months. Herds – which have had no moves in over the previous 12 months – may be able to demonstrate they meet the ‘establishment free from BVD’ status requirements;

Keepers who export cattle to the ROI, or indeed other member states with an approved programme, need to consider the options on the EHCs.

They must take action to secure necessary approvals in advance of exporting, the department advises.

“For example, an exporter who wishes to use the quarantine option will need to apply to DAERA for approval of an Approved Quarantine Establishment (AQE).”

“The process for obtaining approval of the AQE will take time. Exporters are, therefore, advised to contact the department immediately.”

BVD vaccines

BVD vaccines play an “important role” in protecting breeding animals from becoming infected with the BVD virus, the department said.

It advises in favour of continued use for many herds.

However, DAERA wishes to highlight to exporters that although BVD vaccinated animals are still permitted to move to the ROI, once BVD Free status is achieved next year, they will no longer be eligible for export.

“Anyone who may want to export cattle to the ROI for breeding and production needs to be mindful that BVD vaccination is likely to prevent trade in the future.”

“We advise keepers to seek advice from their Private Veterinary Practitioner.”

BVD in Northern Ireland

Data from the department shows that the level of BVD in animals across Northern Ireland has fallen over 50% since the compulsory eradication scheme’s introduction in 2016.

The department continues to work with industry to “drive down” disease levels.

It says it is currently taking the “necessary” steps to introduce new legislation, which will allow herd restrictions.

It recognises that further measures, including developing a second phase of legislation, may support BVD eradication.

We recently covered another news article on this topic on That’s Farming.

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