Agricultural industry comes together to fight BVD

Over 50 organisations and companies from across the agricultural industry have joined forces in a campaign to eradicate bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD). 

The disease is thought to be one of the most important illnesses of cattle regarding economic cost and welfare. It can cause abortion, infertility, immunosuppression, failure to thrive and sometimes death.

To overcome the threat, an industry-led project, coordinated by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), has been created to raise awareness of the disease. The initiative was developed in response to a popular scheme with farmers across England that recognises their efforts in tackling BVD, and to build on from the success of regional BVD projects.

Organisations, including veterinarians, laboratories and other stakeholders, that support the programme have signed the BVDFree statement of intent.

BVDFree charter:

• To actively engage in BVD control in order to eliminate the disease from their heard
• To report all BVD testing results from their herd to the national database
• To allow herd status and/or individual animal status to be openly accessible through the BVDFree database
• Not to move Persistently Infected (PI) animals other than directly to slaughter (or through a dedicated red slaughter market)

“Having experienced BVD within my own herd and the subsequent problems it brings, I am very pleased the industry is leading the way in tackling this challenging disease,” commented livestock farmer Bill Mellor.

“Eliminating BVD will not only improve health, welfare and production efficiency but contribute to our aim of reducing the need to use antimicrobials.

“I would urge all beef and dairy farmers to sign up to the BVDFree scheme when it rolls out later this year.”

The importance of fighting BVD has been recognised by government and it is hoping to work alongside industry using Rural Development Programme of England (RDPE) funds. More details will be available later in the year.

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