NORTHERN IRISH cattle that have not been tested for Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) can no longer be moved to slaughterhouses.

The prohibition was announced in July, and came into practical effect on September 1. DAERA will now take enforcement measures in respect of untested cattle moved in breach of the BVD Eradication Scheme Order (Northern Ireland) 2016, under which it is an offence to move an untested animal or to have possession of an untested animal that has been moved in contravention of the Order.

This applies to herdkeepers, market operators and slaughterhouses. As part of the enforcement measures, untested cattle (BVDU status) moved in breach of the BVD Order to slaughterhouses will be highlighted on the Animal and Public Health Information System (APHIS) and identified for the official veterinarian. This will initiate enforcement action that may lead to prosecution.

Any person found guilty of moving, or possessing, an untested animal shall be liable, on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding £5000, or in the case of an offence committed with respect to more than five animals, not exceeding £1000 for each animal.

To remain compliant, keepers should check that all animals in their herd born since March 1, 2016, have been tested. BVDU status animals should be sampled at the first opportunity – either by a blood sample taken by a vet or by inserting a BVD sample official ear tag and sending the tissue sample to an approved laboratory. Keepers can find out the BVD status of their animals using APHIS Online, from an APHIS herd list (available from DAERA Direct offices) or on the Animal Health and Welfare Northern Ireland (AHWNI) database.

BVD non-negative statuses are also now listed on TB test charts to encourage the sampling of any untested animals when they are gathered for TB testing.