Unannounced inspections to check that Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) positive animals are being isolated are due to commence in Northern Ireland in the coming weeks.
The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) made the announcement earlier today (Thursday, January 21st).
Herds, which retain a BVD positive animal, will be visited by DAERA inspectors to confirm compliance with the 2016 BVD Order, which requires isolation within housing to prevent direct or indirect contact with other susceptible animals.
Prosecutions and fines
Herd keepers, who have not isolated BVD positive animals may be prosecuted.
Furthermore, if convicted they may be fined up to £5,000 for a single animal, or up to £1,000 per animal if more than 5 animals are involved.
The number of positive testing positive has fallen significantly in recent months, according to the department. It states that progress towards the complete eradication of BVD from cattle herds in NI is being delayed by the retention of BVD positive animals by a minority of herd keepers.
Isolation warning letters and inspections
A DAERA spokesperson said: “Herd keepers are initially informed of the requirement to isolate BVD positives by Animal Health and Welfare Northern Ireland (AHWNI) when test results are reported.”
“The Department will now be issuing an isolation warning letter if the animal is still in the herd for a significant period after the positive test date. This will be followed up by an isolation inspection visit if the animal remains in the herd.”
Cull PI animals
Welcoming the announcement, Dr Sam Strain, Chief Executive of AHWNI, said: “We know that infected animals present a very high risk of further infection to the rest of their herd, to neighbouring herds and to herds purchasing pregnant stock from BVD infected farms.”
“Industry stakeholders in the NI BVD Programme are keen to see an acceleration of progress towards eradication and have asked for enforcement measures to be implemented.”
“These actions by DAERA should help to reinforce the veterinary advice that farmers who own BVD positive cattle must urgently take steps to deal with the virus in their herds and cull Persistently Infected cattle promptly.”
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