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BVD Free


BVDFree England – national BVD eradication scheme launches


Why do we need to eradicate BVD from England?

As we are aware, Bovine Viral Diarrhoea or BVD is a highly contagious viral disease of cattle, and one of the biggest disease issues facing the UK cattle industry. BVD has been estimated to cost between £13 and £301 per affected cow and it is believed the national cost could be as high as £61million per year.

What is BVDFree?

BVDFree is a national industry-led scheme that launches on 1st July 2016 in England.  Over 70 industry companies and organisations have pledged their support for the scheme, which includes industry bodies, pharmaceutical suppliers, laboratories, tag manufacturers, supermarkets and vets, among others.

The BVDFree scheme is based on achieving the elimination of the disease through identification and removal of animals persistently infected (PI) with BVD. A national database will support this by storing individual and herd test results for scheme members.

The BVDFree Scheme will be run on a voluntary basis until the majority of the cattle industry is covered by the scheme, when it is hoped collaboration with the Government will lead to the introduction of compulsory measures. The ultimate aim for the scheme is to achieve the eradication of Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) virus from all cattle herds in the country by 2022.

Why do we need BVDFree England?

By taking a coordinated approach across the cattle industry, this scheme will make BVD elimination possible. BVDFree England will work in co-operation with the cattle industries in Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Northern Ireland to eradicate BVD from the islands of Great Britain and Ireland.

Other countries have already taken action to eradicate BVD because they recognise that BVD is one of the biggest disease issues for the cattle industry. The Scandinavian countries Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark have already eradicated BVD from their national herds – so it can be done.

It’s time to take action:

  • Ireland, Scotland and Northern Ireland are already taking action to eradicate BVD virus from their cattle herds through national schemes.

  • BVDFree England will be the first national scheme in England

  • BVDFree will run a national database, that will store individual and herd test results for those that have joined the scheme.

  • BVDFree England will work in cooperation with the cattle industries in Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Northern Ireland to eradicate BVD from the islands of Great Britain and Ireland.

What do I need to do to join BVDFree?

By joining the scheme, you agree to:

  • Actively engage in BVD control in order to eradicate BVD from your herd.

  • Report all BVD testing results from your herd to the BVDFree database.

  • Allow herd status/individual animal status to be openly accessible through the BVDFree database.

  • Not move persistently infected (PI) animals, other than directly to slaughter (or through a dedicated red meat slaughter market).

How does this scheme differ from XLVets BVD CHECK TAG?

The XLVets BVD CHECK TAG scheme aims to help farmers identify animals that have had a BVD tissue sample test (TST) performed.  The BVD CHECK website provides a searchable database of all negative test results for the scheme, for any tests that have been completed.

The BVD CHECK TAG scheme will continue to operate, and in the short-term the database will still run to ensure any outstanding submissions can still be uploaded, however farmers will be encouraged to join the national BVDFree programme going forward and display test results via this route.

The good news is that all existing BVD CHECK TAG results will be imported to the BVDFree database, unless a farmer requests otherwise.

So what happens next?

XLVets has pledged to support the BVDFree scheme and your practice will be able to discuss with you how you can get involved.  Over the coming months, our BVD CHECK TAG submission forms will migrate to offer you the option to have results displayed on the BVDFree database.  In the meantime, if you need any further information then either contact your XLVets practice or visit the BVDFree website

Farmer Weekly Article – Government chief vets plan to tackle BVD

Farmers Weekly Article – Tackle bovine viral diarrhoea in your herd 

Farmers Guardian article –  Why it pays to do something about BVD 

View our BVD FACTSHEET here


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