Wednesday, 26 May 2010
Dáil Éireann Debate
39. Deputy Trevor Sargent asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the measures in place to tackle bovine viral diarrhoea; the role he sees in this context for a national vaccination scheme; if he is familiar with the Irish manufactured and Irish Medicines Board licensed homoeopathic veterinary remedy for BVD now available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21844/10]
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Deputy Brendan Smith): Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) is caused by a viral infection of cattle. The virus is called Bovine Viral Diarrhoea Virus. It is not a notifiable disease under the Diseases of Animals Act. Where individual problems occur, whether in relation to notifiable or non-notifiable diseases, as they do from time to time on farms, the Veterinary Laboratory Service of my Department is available to support local veterinary practitioners and their clients. In this context, samples from animals may be submitted for testing to my Department’s Central Veterinary Laboratory or Regional Veterinary Laboratories at the discretion of a private veterinary practitioner or upon request by a herdowner through his or her private veterinary practitioner.
There are no zoonotic implications with regard to BVD. BVD vaccines are available and vaccination programmes are an essential part of prevention and control measures. As regards the choice of vaccine to be used in specific cases, there are a number of products authorised by the Irish Medicines Board for the Irish market and it is a matter for the farmer, in consultation with his private veterinary practitioner, to determine which product to use on his/her herd.
There are no plans to introduce a national vaccination programme for BVD. In January 2009 I launched Animal Health Ireland, which operates, independently of my Department and has as one of its main aims, the identification and prioritisation of non-regulated disease conditions such as BVD. Animal Health Ireland is a company limited by guarantee with its own Board of Directors and Chief Executive. It is part financed by my Department and by industry and is responsible for the distribution of information to stakeholders in relation to its programme of activities and has already begun to address the problem of BVD on Irish farms. Information on BVD is available on the Animal Health Ireland website.
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