New compensation measures for the removal of BVD Persistently Infected Animals (PIs) announced by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Mr. Simon Coveney, show a lack of awareness that some farmers are retaining these animals even against best practice and advice, according to Mr. Pat McCormack, Deputy President and Dairy Committee Chairperson of the ICMSA.
While acknowledging that compensation is a welcome development and that the amount of €75 for the removal of the second and subsequent dairy breed heifer PI may encourage those retaining PIs to remove them, Mr McCormack stressed that dairy and beef herds should – as an absolute minimum – receive the same level of compensation of €120. In addition, the decision to exclude beef animals from dairy herds for compensation is, in ICMSA’s view, both ill-advised and illogical in that it doesn’t take account of the fact that BVD does not discriminate by breed or sex of the animal.
The ICMSA Deputy President noted that ratio of PI retention between dairy and beef herds is close to 50:50 and the exclusion of males and beef breeds from the dairy herd from the compensation scheme is a major oversight. “If compensation is seen as a means of removing PIs then it makes no sense to discriminate between herd types or on the basis of the gender of the animal or we will be in the exactly the same position in 12 months’ time with very significant numbers of Persistently Infected Animals being retained on farms: we’re either serious about eradicating this or we’re not”, said Mr McCormack.
“The Minister also needs to look at other measures in his effort to remove PIs. This starts with the notification of neighbours who bound farmers retaining PIs for more than 7 weeks after the birth of that animal. This is essential as there are more herds that have a BVD free status and they are entitled to all aid in taking the precautions necessary to stay that way. Informing the vets of those farmers who have retained PIs is another vital move so that the vet can take any decontamination measures they deem wise before going onto a BVD-free farm straight from dealing with a potential PI animal in another herd. It is acknowledged by all that the removal of PIs is absolutely essential, the Minister’s compensation package needs to go further and must apply equally to all PI herds if we’re to get on top of this problem”, concluded Mr. McCormack.
5 June 2014.
Pat McCormack, 087-7608958
Deputy President, ICMSA.
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758
ICMSA Press Office