New Johne’s Disease control programme announced

The Johne’s Disease Implementation Group has agreed the commencement of a new programme for the control of Johne’s Disease in Ireland, Animal Health Ireland (AHI) has announced.

Building on the experience of the pilot control programme for dairy herds, which ran from 2014 to 2016, the design of this new broadly-based control programme has been agreed by the Implementation Group.

This was done taking account of the recommendations of the Johne’s Disease Technical Working Group.

The programme is set to be introduced in two phases, with the first phase beginning in early September this year, and the second phase expected to start early in 2018.

Commenting on the announcement, Joe O’Flaherty, CEO of Animal Health Ireland, praised the efforts of all parties, including: the Technical Working Group; the industry stakeholders on the Implementation Group; and his colleagues in AHI – for bringing discussions to the point of agreement.

O’Flaherty said: “This new programme builds on the knowledge and experience gained from the pilot programme, a review of international best practice, and extensive consultation with stakeholders.

“We have decided to take a phased approach to implementation, with Phase One, starting in September this year, acting as a bridge to the new programme for those herds that participated in the pilot programme.

He added: “We expect Phase 2 to start in early 2018, following the completion of an international consultant’s report on the relative effectiveness of a number of proposed, new programme measures.

“The programme has drawn on best practice internationally in relation to the control of Johne’s disease, and I am confident that the approach that is now being adopted in Ireland will prove its effectiveness over time.

I encourage all farmers in the first place to inform themselves about what the programme has to offer, perhaps by attending one of the awareness events planned for later this year, or by visiting the AHI website.

“For those farmers who want to become actively involved, I would encourage them to respond positively to the targeted communications they will receive from AHI in the coming months,” O’Flaherty concluded.