Cattle keepers urged to comment on BVD plans

SCOTLAND'S cattle keepers are to have their say on Scottish Government plans to eradicate Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) at series of meetings being organised by NFU Scotland.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 23rd June 2010, 12:32 pm
Updated Wednesday, 23rd June 2010, 12:32 pm

The Scottish Government is consulting on a strategy to eliminate the costly disease from the Scottish herd.

The strategy would involve an initial voluntary phase followed by compulsory requirements to deal with BVD, giving the potential for Scotland to be BVD-free within a few short years

NFU Scotland has been involved in developing this eradication strategy and, along with other stakeholders, has had input into the Government's proposal.

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An effective strategy for eradication requires farmer agreement and support and the Union is now going on the road to hear members' views.

Open meetings for Inverurie, Castle Douglas, and Ayr have already been arranged with further meetings in Stirling, Argyll and the Highlands likely to be scheduled.

The Union is keen to hear from farmers and their vets at these events.

NFU Scotland vice-president, Nigel Miller said: "We believe that BVD is of such serious financial and welfare significance to all Scottish cattle herds that it needs to be tackled in a positive manner.

"We think that eradication is realistic, and potentially cost effective, but only if the scheme is national, with an element of compulsion. We need to know if members will support the strategy being proposed to eliminate BVD.

"We are of the opinion that an initial voluntary phase with incentives to get rid of persistently infected animals is reasonable. To back that up, a second compulsory phase to monitor for the disease may be required if we are to significantly reduce the risk of re-infecting BVD free herds and to ultimately rid Scotland of BVD.

"We need members to tell us if they would support a legislative requirement forcing livestock keepers, at the later compulsory stage, to screen their animals annually and take any necessary action to keep their herds, and those of their neighbours, disease-free.

"There would be a cost to producers in monitoring and removing BVD from their herds but that cost needs to be weighed up against the huge impact that BVD has on our beef and dairy herds annually and the significant benefits that eradication would deliver.

"Lets have the debate as to whether that is a cost our cattle industry supports and I urge all cattle keepers to come along to these meetings."