First NI farmer convicted for BVD-related movement offences

A Co. Fermanagh farmer has been convicted for three BVD-related offences in what has become the first conviction of its type in Northern Ireland.

Noel Henry Thornton of Cam Road, Derrylin, Enniskillen, pleaded guilty at Enniskillen Magistrates’ Court today.

The 64-year-old had moved persistently infected cattle into his herd in contravention of the Bovine Viral Diarrhoea Eradication Scheme Order (Northern Ireland) 2016.

Thornton was fined £750 plus the £15 offender levy and has become the first farmer in Northern Ireland to be convicted of BVD-related offences.

The animals were discovered during a cattle identification inspection and follow-up investigation of Thornton’s herd by officers from the department’s Welfare and Enforcement Branch.

Persistently infected animals from another herd were also found on Thornton’s premises.

BVD

Bovine Viral Diarrhoea is a highly contagious viral infection of cattle which causes a range of clinical problems.

Most infected animals don’t survive to a productive age and it currently affects over 8% of cattle herds in Northern Ireland. An industry-led scheme to eradicate BVD from Northern Ireland has been supported by legislation since 2016.

Herd keepers are required to tag and test all newborn calves and the movement of positive animals between herds is strictly prohibited.

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