Scotland Takes Another Step Towards BVD Eradication

Requirement for all persistently infected animals to be housed

Scotland’s bid to eradicate Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) from its cattle herd takes another step forward next week (18 May) when all animals identified as being persistently infected (PIs) must be housed separately.

Latest figures show that under Phase Five of the Scottish BVD scheme, significant progress in eradicating this costly disease from Scottish cattle continues to be made.

Across 10,691 holdings, 535,000 cattle are in Scotland are being tested and screened for BVD.  Figures for May suggest that 48 Scottish holdings currently retain 122 PI cattle and, if these animals remain on farm, then they will be required to meet the new rules.

From 18 May 2020, any animals that are suspected to be PIs must be housed separately from the rest of the herd.  This means any animal that has tested positive for BVD, or has a presumed positive status, must be housed away from the rest of the herd.  In the interests of animal welfare, those choosing to retain high risk animals may be allowed to house a low risk non-PI animal with them.

Good biosecurity must be practiced between the PI animal(s) and the rest of the herd, with proper cleaning and disinfection of outerwear and equipment between the different groups.

Although inspections are currently suspended due to Covid-19, those herds retaining PI animals will be subjected to unannounced visits from APHA in the future to ensure that suitable isolation facilities and protocols are place.

NFU Scotland’s Animal Health and Welfare Policy Manager Penny Middleton said: “Great strides have been made by Scottish cattle keepers in eradicating this costly disease from our herd and Phase Five, which started in December 2019, is continuing that momentum.

“However, persistently infected animals are the biggest cause of spreading BVD and best practice involves removing them from a herd as soon as they are identified.

“Where herds choose to retain these high-risk animals, then housing and isolation can prevent further spread of infection within the herd, but more importantly can help protect neighbouring herds from infection.

“Many of those neighbours will have invested significant time and money in BVD eradication plans that risk being undone through any contact with PI animals.

“The expectation is that the new rules, set to come in on 18 May, requiring any suspected PI animal to be housed and isolated will not only serve to protect the national herd against further infection, but it will also serve as a deterrent against keeping PI animals.”  

Notes to Editors


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Author: Bob Carruth

Date Published:

News Article No.: 59/20

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