The latest figures from the ongoing BVD programme show that good progress has been made in reducing and eradicating the BVD virus but the pace would be much faster if the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine invested more resources in the programme over the short term and focussed on removal of confirmed PIs, according to Mr. Pat McCormack, Deputy President of the ICMSA.
“ICMSA is disappointed with the level of engagement we’ve seen from the Department of Agriculture in the last number of months in relation to keeping restrictions up to date, the compensation payments for 2015 PIs and also the early notification of neighbours in relation to the presence of PIs. Those notifications need to be fully automated as soon as possible but, in the meantime, it is essential that additional resources are given to the appropriate sections so as to ensure that PIs are removed as quickly as possible. This is the core issue here for ICMSA: the vast majority of farmers have complied with the Programme but where we have individuals who retain PIs then it’s the responsibility of the Minister and his Department to absolutely insist that the animals are removed”, said Mr. McCormack.
“Now that the eradication programme is reaching its critical stage, we need to see the increased compensation that would speed up the removal of PIs and ensure that farmers are not testing longer than needs be. Compensation should be paid on all animals – including Friesian bulls – but, most importantly, PI animals should be compulsorily removed at 10 weeks of age with compensation. Since the 2015 roll-out of on-farm restrictions on those farmers that retain persistently infected animals, the rate of retention has reduced dramatically and this has had a very positive impact on the programme: the stats are supporting our argument that now is the time for one final push on this programme in terms of resources, personnel and co-ordination towards the goal here: a BVD-free state”, said Mr. McCormack.
“The one thing that has to be avoided at all costs is a situation where farmers continue to participate in a BVD eradication programme spending millions while the Department continues to drag its feet and not push through to the successful conclusion that’s now within reach”, he concluded.
Ends 30 August 2016.
Pat McCormack, 087-7608958
Deputy President, ICMSA.
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758
ICMSA Press Office