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Cattle producers urged to help tackle Bovine Viral Diarrhoea
Published:  21 November, 2016

English cattle producers are being encouraged to play their part in fighting Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD). 

According to the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), the illness is one of the biggest disease issues facing the industry, with an estimated cost of between £13 and £31 per cow. This equates to around £39.1 million across England.

The levy board is now telling farmers that they have until the end of the year to benefit from free uploads of BVD test results to the BVDFree England database. The system collects data for all individual animals and herds that test negative for BVD, which could then help onward sales of animals.

“I and many others have seen both the damage BVD can do in a herd and the improvements, in terms of both calf health and fertility, you get when you eliminate the virus,” explained BVDFree board chairman Bill Mellor. “There are real economic benefits, in all systems, when there are no cattle persistently infected with BVD.”

“Joining BVDFree shows you want to be part of the drive for national elimination and are playing your part to deliver the next generation of cattle, free from the millstone of BVD.”

Cattle that join BVDFree England and are also BVD-accredited to Cattle Health Certification Standards will get recognition through the national BVDFree database. Individual animal and herd status is searchable on bvdfree.org.uk.

“I passionately believe all involved in the cattle industry need to work together to eradicate BVD and, as a consequence, improve the health and welfare of the national herd,” added Mellor.

Both farmers and veterinarians have been encouraged to help support the scheme by BVDFree board member Roger Cunningham of the British Cattle Veterinary Association.

“In setting up BVDFree we have taken the first step to national freedom,” he commented. “The sooner farmers join BVDFree and take the simple steps to tackle the disease, the sooner all will be free of the risk of a BVD breakdown, which can be catastrophic.”

More than 100 organisations have so far signed the statement of intent, supporting the elimination of BVD from the national herd.