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Vets welcome NI plans to prosecute BVD offenders
“We welcome this announcement and hope that it will motivate the small number of herd keepers who continue to keep untested animals to comply with the legislation" - Aurelie Moralis, BVA NI Branch president. 
A small number of herd keepers continue to keep untested animals

Vets have welcomed a move by Northern Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) to take enforcement action against herd keepers who breach the testing requirements of the Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) eradication programme.

Under the new plans, herds with significant numbers of untested animals born before 1 March 2016 (when compulsory testing began) will be contacted and will have 30 days to have their animals tested. Failure to do so may result in prosecution.

Aurelie Moralis, president of BVA Northern Ireland Branch, said: “The introduction of compulsory BVD testing in 2016 has proved very successful in moving Northern Ireland towards our ultimate goal of being BVD free. The majority of farmers are already engaging well with the process to control BVD. However, the success of the eradication programme relies on the commitment and compliance of every herd keeper in Northern Ireland.
 
“We welcome this announcement and hope that it will motivate the small number of herd keepers who continue to keep untested animals to comply with the legislation. We encourage vets to remind their clients that BVD testing is both advisable and compulsory and that failure to comply may now result in prosecution.”

Chief veterinary officer Robert Huey said: “Since BVD testing became compulsory we have seen a significant drop in the prevalence of BVD, however, it is disappointing that a small number of herd keepers continue to keep untested animals. Some of these are likely to be persistently infected with BVD virus so they are a disease risk, both to the current herd and to neighbouring herds.”

He continued: “BVD eradication is dependent on herd keepers being aware of the status of their animals and taking appropriate action. The Department has a responsibility to ensure the legislation is adhered to and we will seek to enforce this through the courts if necessary.”

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Stephen Fry lends voice to frog conservation film

News Story 1
 Comedian and author Stephen Fry has lent his voice to a new animation that hopes to raise awareness of deadly ranavirus, which is threatening the UK’s frogs.

Research by ZSL, who created the short film, suggests that at least 20 per cent of ranavirus cases over the past three decades, could be attributed to human introductions. This includes pond owners introducing fish, frog spawn and plants from other environments.

Amphibian disease expert Dr Stephen Price said: “People can help stop the spread by avoiding moving potentially infected material such as spawn, tadpoles, pond water and plants into their own pond. Disinfecting footwear or pond nets before using them elsewhere will also help.” 

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BVA Welsh Branch elects new president

Veterinary surgeon Ifan Lloyd was elected president of the BVA Welsh Branch at its AGM on 25 June.

Ifan has worked mainly in mixed practice since graduating from Cambridge University in 1988. He was a partner at St James Veterinary Group for 23 years and has continued to work part time at the practice since retiring in 2017.

He is passionate about animal health and disease eradication. He is a director of Cefn Gwlad Solutions, a company set up to lead bovine TB programmes in collaboration with other stakeholders. He is also director of lechyd Da (gwledig), the bTB testing delivery partner in South Wales.

Ifan said, “As a founding member of BVA Welsh Branch I am honoured and delighted to be elected as President. I have been passionate about representing the veterinary profession in Wales for many years and I plan to use this experience to represent my colleagues to the best of my abilities.”