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BVD Stats Show Eradication Goal Can be Reached

19 July 2013

UK - NFU Scotland believes initial BVD testing results show that Scotland’s ambition to eradicate the costly cattle disease Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) can be achieved.

Of an estimated 9000 breeding herds in Scotland, more than 8200 have now been tested for the disease. While a number of results are still pending, 78 percent of herds that have been assessed have been found to be negative for BVD and 22 percent not negative. While there are regional differences, the Union believes that this level of infection provides a strong base from which Scotland can go about the job of eradicating the disease.

To improve our BVD status, NFU Scotland has backed Scottish Government plans to make it illegal to knowingly sell an animal known to be persistently infected (PI) with BVD. The high level of testing also brings Scotland a step closer to introducing a requirement to declare the BVD status of the herd or individual animal when cattle are being sold at breeding sales.

Commenting on the testing figures, NFU Scotland President Nigel Miller said: "There is a real desire amongst the majority of cattle keepers in Scotland to see us make genuine progress towards eradicating this costly disease from our herds and both the high level of testing carried out and the discovery that disease levels are lower than expected are pleasant surprises.

"Eradication plans are industry led and designed to tackle what is a significant economic disease in cattle. The number of Scottish cattle keepers who have already had their herds tested shows the level of grass roots support. Importantly, that builds on progress elsewhere in the UK as England rolls out its own BVD control strategy and a tissue tag testing scheme has already been adopted in Northern Ireland.

"These Scottish results now open the door to making progress with our eradication plans. The next milestones include a legal requirement preventing producers from trading animals known to be persistently infected with the disease. Stopping the movement of these highly infectious beasts is crucial to halting the spread of disease.

"With the Scot EID database, which carries Scotland’s BVD testing data, going live we also need to work up the traffic light system which will highlight an animal’s BVD status at point of sale. That would allow farmers buying cattle to manage their risk and for herds free of BVD to gain market recognition of the effort they have made to stay clear of the disease.

"Further discussions on whether Scotland, based on testing results, needs to adopt a regional approach to eradication will take place later this year. Control efforts on BVD already undertaken in the North and North East of Scotland and on many of the islands may mean that they may be in a position to move to movement restrictions more quickly. In other regions, more time may be needed to put BVD herd plans in place."

Further Reading

Find out more information on BVD by clicking here.

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