Consultation on mandatory BVD testing
The Scottish Government has today launched a consultation on draft legislation to require farmers with breeding herds to test for bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD).
BVD is a major economic drain on the industry. Under government plans, farmers with breeding herds will have to screen their herd annually for the disease.
A range of screening methods would be available so that all types of herd can find a suitable testing regime for their circumstances.
Additionally, where a calf is born in a non-breeding herd it would have to be tested for BVD, for example by using an ear tag test.
This is part of a wider programme to eradicate BVD from Scotland.
The next stage, from September 2012, would see those that cannot demonstrate freedom from disease prevented from moving cattle to other holdings, unless each animal is individually tested free for BVD prior to movement. The movement of persistently infected (PI) animals other than direct to slaughter would also be prohibited.
Then, from September 2013, there could be a requirement on holdings that are not free of BVD to provide biosecurity for neighbouring cattle holdings and BVD screening could be extended to include non-breeding herds.
Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said:
"Scotland is recognised internationally for its world-class breeding cattle, beef and dairy products and these are supported by the distinctive high health status of the national herd. We are among the world leaders and we want to stay there.
"Eradicating BVD would be a major step forward in the economic sustainability and welfare of cattle farming and would reduce the intensity of greenhouse gas emissions from the sector.
"We were very encouraged at the response to our consultation in the summer on plans to support eradication. In fact, industry enthusiasm has played a huge part in helping us reach this stage. But this new consultation is on the details of mandatory screening and we need to get this right. So I would encourage everyone with an interest in the cattle sectors to consider the proposal and give us their views."
The consultation closes on 15 April 2011.