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Island achieves huge step towards eradication of serious cattle disease

Thursday, 27 September 2018

The Government has announced that for the first time since 2013 the Island is now free of animals persistently infected with a serious disease which has been affecting the Island’s cattle.

Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) causes a complex of diseases which only affect cattle, the most important of which can interfere with reproduction, affect the unborn calf and ultimately lead to fatal disease. If cows are infected in the first 120 days of pregnancy the calf will be permanently infected and the disease perpetuated, leading to a serious economic impact on the Island’s cattle herd.

Diseased calves grow poorly and before dying at a young age suffer from chronic digestive and respiratory disease.

The Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA) has been working closely with the cattle industry since 2013, with compulsory testing of all calves for the disease begun in 2014.

Control of BVD has been achieved by restricting the movement of infected calves and culling them.

Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture, Geoffrey Boot MHK, said:

“It is good to see that the cooperation between the department and the industry, and all the hard work and sacrifices made by cattle farmers, is now paying off. There is no room for complacency, as the disease is not yet eradicated, and constant vigilance is going to be needed. However, this is undoubtedly a major step forward.”

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