June 16, 2015


Groups work for BVD-free UK



The UK Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board has allotted £60,000 (US$93,481) to fund a programme that would help eliminate bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) in England.


The BVD Free programme in England, to be launched later this year, will work closely with similar BVD programmes operating in Scotland and Wales.


The Royal Veterinary College has estimated the impact of BVD on the English dairy and beef sectors to be £11.36 million ($17.71 million) per year—with the impact doubling to over £22 million ($34.29 million) in a "worst case scenario".


Gwyn Jones, chair of AHDB's dairy division and of the Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance (RUMA) said BVD "adds significant cost through its ill effects on fertility and health. Eliminating BVD virus will not only improve health, welfare and production efficiency but contribute to our aim of reducing the need to use antimicrobials through better health.


Stuart Roberts, chair of the AHDB beef and lamb division added: "Beef farmers are particularly vulnerable to the effects of BVD which can potentially wipe out one year of the productive life of beef suckler cows either because they do not get in calf or they produce a persistently infected calf which then dies before reaching a marketable weight.


Over 25 organisations and companies have so far signed the BVD Statement of Intent of the Cattle Health and Welfare Group, or CHAWG.


BVD control is one of the key priorities of the CHAWG). The 19 industry stakeholder members of CHAWG recognise that appropriate monitoring, control and eradication can lead to success as far as BVD is concerned. "We know what to do", said Tim Brigstocke, chair of CHAWG. "It is a case of having a joined up campaign tapping into the work being done on eradication in Scotland and the Republic of Ireland to make England free of this nasty insidious disease which is costing cattle farmers millions of pounds".


Derek Armstrong of AHDB's dairy division, who will lead for AHDB on BVD elimination, welcomed the broad industry support, saying, "The time is now right for a co-ordinated and concerted effort to eliminate BVD from the UK which will improve the health and welfare of and reduce production costs for future generations of British cattle".

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