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Continuation of supports to eradicate BVD

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T. D., today outlined his support for the pathway to Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) freedom by the end of 2023 and the continued supports from his Department for the BVD Eradication Programme.

The Minister said he is satisfied with the progress being made towards the eradication of BVD. He noted that substantial savings are being achieved by farmers, with the incidence of BVD test positive animals decreasing this year to just 0.03 % from 0.66 % in 2013 – the first year of the compulsory phase of the eradication programme.

The Minister said, “The programme is at a crucial point and we are close to eradicating BVD from the herd. The opportunity to achieve BVD freedom is in sight. It is key that everyone plays their role to see this through. Excellent progress has been made over the past number of years and we have intensified our efforts to ensure success. We will continue its support for the enhanced programme agreed by the BVD Implementation Group and pledges substantial supports again for next year.

“My Department is providing a comprehensive package of supports to all affected farms to lower the future disease risk within those farms and to reduce the risk to other herds. This is an opportunity for Ireland’s cattle farmers to further demonstrate their commitment, and to intensify efforts to achieve BVD free status.”

As in 2021, automatic herd restrictions and notification to neighbouring holdings will continue in 2022. To ensure BVD infection is contained within the herd of disclosure, herd restrictions apply from one day following the date of the initial BVD positive or inconclusive test.

Among the package of supports available in 2022, is to support of the early removal of BVD test positive animals, which is as follows:

Dairy Herds

  • €160 if female dairy and dairy cross animals are removed within 10 days of the first positive or inconclusive test result.
  • €30 if female dairy and dairy cross animals are removed between day11 and 21 of the first positive or inconclusive test result.
  • €30 towards the disposal of dairy bull calves through the abattoir or knackery within 14 days of the first positive or inconclusive test result.

Beef Herds

  • €220 if the animal is removed within 10 days of the first positive or inconclusive test result.
  • €30 if the animal is removed between day 11 and 21 of the first positive or inconclusive test result.

Furthermore, the Minister also confirmed that the Targeted Advisory Service on Animal Health (TASAH) investigations, comprising a fully funded mandatory herd epidemiological investigation after disclosure of a BVD test positive or inconclusive animal will continue. The Department will also fund a whole herd BVD test as part of an epidemiological investigation, and the vaccination of all eligible females in these herds against BVD in 2022 and 2023. This will be undertaken by each herd’s nominated Private Veterinary Practitioner.

The Minster confirmed that the work of the BVD Implementation Group continues to review progress and consider whether any further additional measures may be needed to bring the BVD Eradication Programme to as speedy a conclusion as possible.

The changes taken in 2021 and 2022 reflect the requirements of the new EU Animal Health Legislation and the required changes needed to achieve official recognition of the programme at EU level.

Finally, the Minister took the opportunity to thank Animal Health Ireland and the industry’s BVD Implementation Group for their valuable work in the course of 2021.

Notes for Editors:

EU Animal Health Law

To meet the requirements of the EU Animal Health Law, Ireland must achieve an 18-month period without the disclosure of a confirmed BVD persistently infected animal, with 99.8 % of cattle establishments BVD free, accounting for 99.9 % of the bovine population.

Confirmatory testing

Confirmatory testing on ear notch positive animals will not be conducted under the 2022 programme.

Financial support for affected herds

The epidemiological investigation will operate as part of the TASAH programme, funded under the Rural Development Programme (RDP). DAFM will fund the full cost of whole herd testing for BVD; and the vaccination of eligible females in each affected herd for a two year period as part of this herd investigation.