April 14, 2016


Campaign to eliminate cattle disease in England takes off



A campaign aiming to eliminate a highly contagious disease afflicting cattle in England has started, backed by more than 50 organisations and companies from across the agricultural industry.


The disease, bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) causes abortion, infertility, immunosuppression (reduced immune system), failure to thrive and, occasionally, death.


Coordinated by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), the industry-led campaign follows up farmers' efforts in tackling BVD, as well as builds on the success of many regional BVD projects.


Organisations that support the campaign have signed the BVDFree statement of intent.


Farmers joining the BVDFree scheme will have to sign up to the four-point BVDFree charter to eliminate the disease from their herd.


The BVDFree charter enjoins signees to:


-- actively engage in BVD control in order to eliminate the disease from their herd;


-- report all BVD testing results from their herd to the national database;


-- allow herd status and/or individual animal status to be openly accessible through the BVDFree database; and


-- not move persistently infected (PI) animals other than directly to slaughter (or through a dedicated red slaughter market).


Livestock farmer Bill Mellor said: "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….I would urge all beef and dairy farmers to sign up to the BVDFree scheme when it rolls out later this year."


The government also recognises the importance of tackling BVD in England and hopes to work alongside the industry using RDPE (Rural Development Programme for England) funds.

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