New rules to tackle BVD in Wales

The Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (Wales) Order 2024 will be introduced on 1st July.


New legislation in Wales is being introduced this summer to eradicate BVD.

From 1st July 2024, cattle keepers will be required to:

  • Screen herds each year by testing a small number of cattle
  • Isolate persistently infected animals from the rest of the herd from the remainder of their lives.

Cattle farmers will have until 1st July 2025 to complete the annual herd test.

The new legislation follows the success of the Gwaredu Bovine Viral Diarrhoea screening programme.

The government said it has worked closely with cattle sector representatives to develop the new rules.

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A really important step

Chief veterinary officer for Wales, Dr Richard Irvine, said being eradicating the disease will improve cattle health, welfare, productivity and fertility.

It can also reduce costs, antibiotic usage and the carbon footprint of the herd.

Eradicating the disease from a typical Welsh herd of 40 cattle could reduce the carbon footprint by around 70,200kg CO2e annually.

READ MORE: Defra announces further funding to tackle endemic diseases

“Embarking on this next phase of the BVD eradication programme in Wales is a really important step,” Dr Irvine said.

“I would like to recognise the industry-led approach, backed up by this new BVD legislation. 

“We can achieve eradication through the ongoing efforts of all cattle farmers, working closely with their vets, to screen and protect their herds from BVD.”

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Serious impact

Cabinet secretary for climate change and rural affairs, Huw Irranca-Davies, added: 

“I understand and appreciate the serious impact of BVD, not just on standards of animal health and welfare, but also the impact on production and the serious economic costs of this disease to farm businesses. 

“The eradication of BVD in Wales is a long-standing commitment, and I fully support industry and Government working together in close partnership to achieve this outcome.”

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Over three quarters of farms BVD free

The Gwaredu BVD’s Youngstock Screening programme offered free screening and herd health advice.

From September 2017 to December 2022, it screened 85% (9,369) of cattle farms in Wales. 

Over 29,000 screenings were carried out in total and 19,282 BVD status certificates were issued to these farms. 

The programme revealed that 27% of farms tested positive in 2018. In 2022, this reduced to 23%, meaning 77% of farms are now BVD free.

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