Further movement restrictions announced for BVD-status cattle

Animal Health and Welfare Northern Ireland (AHWNI) and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs have announced further measures to reduce the spread of Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD).

From February 12, 2018, AHWNI BVD statuses from both the voluntary and compulsory phases of the BVD Eradication Scheme will be visible on the DAERA computer base, APHIS.

This change will enable herd owners to view their BVD statuses and will help them prevent any mistaken movement of animals which do not have a negative BVD status.

To prevent any mistaken movements of BVD-ineligible animals, APHIS movement restrictions are also being introduced.


For animals born on or after March 1, 2016, only negative (BVDN) animals can be permitted through a market, permitted directly to another herd or exported (including via an Export Assembly Centre).

This will not be the case for animals born before March 1, 2016, which are:
  • Positive (BVDP);
  • Inconclusive (BVDI);
  • Dam of a persistently infected (PI) calf (DAMPI);
  • Or offspring of a PI (OFFPI).

These statuses of cattle cannot be permitted to a market, permitted directly to another herd or exported (including via an Export Assembly Centre).

Any animal taken to a market when movement is not allowed will be apparent to the market operator and will not be sold. Any such animals must be returned to the herd from which it moved.

Farmers are reminded to check the BVD status of previously-purchased animals through their access to the AHWNI database, or from February onwards on APHIS.

Highly contagious

Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) is a highly contagious viral infection which currently affects over 10% of herds in Northern Ireland.

The disease is spread by persistently infected (PI) and transiently infected (TI) cattle. PI animals are the most important as they are infectious for their entire lifetime, continuously shedding very high levels of the virus.

Initially they often appear normal but usually they become ill at an early age with most dying before they reach breeding age or slaughter weight.

‘Costing millions’

Sam Strain, chief executive of AHWNI, said: “BVD costs the cattle industry in Northern Ireland millions of pounds each year.

“The addition of BVD statuses to APHIS and the application of movement controls to non-negative animals will greatly assist in protecting herds from this important disease.

“An animal with an ‘Unknown’ status may mean that it has not been tested or an unsuitable sample has been taken; in these cases a button tag may be applied and an ear tissue tag sample submitted for testing.”

Chief veterinary officer Robert Huey added: “The changes announced today will help support the industry’s efforts to eradicate BVD, but the retention of persistently infected animals is still a problem and I again urge herd keepers to follow AHWNI’s advice and remove these animals as soon as possible.”

More information about BVD can be found on the AHWNI website at: www.animalhealthni.com.