Calls made for compulsory BVD testing for imported cattle

Compulsory testing for bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) on all imported cattle is required, according to the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA).

Hugh Farrell, the association’s animal health and welfare chairperson, stressed that “every calf born in Ireland is required to be BVD tested”.

“Farmers have complied assiduously with this requirement and their efforts are reflected in the fact that we have gone from 0.77% positives in 2013 to 0.04% positives so far in 2019,” he added.

We now need to get to a position as soon as possible where annual compulsory testing is no longer necessary for the very many herds which have never had a positive BVD calf.

“However, at this point, we need to be careful about letting BVD in the back door,” Farrell warned.

The ICSA is calling for the BVD regulations to be changed to “ensure the full testing of all imported stock”.

“It doesn’t make sense that all Irish-born calves have to be done, even in herds with a long history of being BVD free, while cattle can come in from abroad and only have to be tested if they are being sold to another herd,” Farrell concluded.

Antibiotic sales falling

In other animal health and welfare-related news, a new report has revealed that European countries continue to reduce the use of antibiotics in animals – with the overall sales of veterinary antibiotics across Europe dropping by more than 32% between 2011 and 2017.

The report from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) shows that, in particular, two of the critically important classes of antibiotics for human medicine were used less in animals – sales of polymyxins plummeted by 66% and sales of third- and fourth-generation cephalosporins decreased by more than 20%.

The findings of the report confirm the downward trend seen over the last few years, and show that national campaigns promoting “prudent use” of antibiotics in animals to fight antimicrobial resistance are having a positive effect, according to the EMA.