Notiﬁable Diseases: The Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 provides the basic legislation for the control and eradication of animal diseases. The following diseases, if suspected or conﬁrmed, must be notiﬁed to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in accordance with th Act or the Bovine TB and Brucellosis orders.
Anthrax, Bluetongue, Brucellosis in ruminating animals and swine, Campylobacteriosis, Caseous Lymphadenitis, Contagious Agalactia, Foot and Mouth Disease, Johne’s Disease, Peste des Petits Ruminants, Pulmonary Adenomatosis, Rabies, Rift Valley Fever, Salmonellosis (caused by or involving Salmonella Enteriditis or Salmonella Typhimurium, Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (other than BSE/Scrapie), Tuberculosis in ruminating animals.
Cattle; Bovine Brucellosis, Bovine Tuberculosis, Bovine Leukosis, BSE, Cattle Plague (Rinderpest), Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia, Lumpy Skin Disease, Warble Fly.
Pigs; African Swine Fever, Aujeszky’s Disease, Classical Swine Fever, Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea, Porcine Corona Virus, Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome, Swine Inﬂuenza, Swine Vesicular Disease, Porcine Enterovirus Encephalomyelitis (Teschen Disease), Transmissible Gastroenteritis, Vesicular Stomatitis.
Sheep Enzootic Abortion of Ewes, Maedi Visna, Scrapie, Sheep Pox, Sheep Scab.
Poultry Arizona Disease, Avian Inﬂuenza (Low Pathogenic and Highly Pathogenic), Fowl Pest (other than Avian Inﬂuenza and Newcastle Disease), Infectious Laryngo-Tracheitis, Mycoplasmosis (caused by or involving Mycoplasma Gallisepticum, Mycoplasma Meleagridis or Mycoplamsa Synovia), Newcastle disease, Psittacosis, Salmonella gallinarum and pullorum, Turkey Rhinotracheitis, diseases caused by or involving Yersinia spp.
Horses and Other Equines African Horse Sickness, Contagious Equine Metritis, Dourine, Epizootic Lymphangitis, Equine Infectious Anaemia, Equine Viral Arteritis, Glanders (farcy), Equine Encephalomyelitis, Hendra virus, Piroplasmosis, Surra, West Nile Virus.
Goats Caprine Viral Arthritis-Encephalitis, Goat Pox.
Deer Epizootic Haemorrhagic Disease.
BeesSmall Hive Beetle, Tropilaelaps Mite, American Foul Brood Disease, European Foul Brood Disease.
TB Eradication Scheme
The control and ultimate eradication of Bovine Tuberculosis is essential for the well-being and future development of our livestock production for both export and domestic markets.
Bovine Tuberculosis is a chronic, highly infectious disease of cattle caused by members of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex. These mycobacteria can cause disease in other domestic or wild animals and also in humans.
Existing Arrangements for Bovine TB Eradication
The main aspects of the Bovine TB Eradication Scheme are as follows:
• Annual testing (the “Round” test) of the national bovine herd for TB;
• Follow-up and focused strategic additional testing which may include; additional testing of herds found to be contiguous to a high risk TB outbreak and the use of blood testing in certain circumstances;
• Rapid removal of reactors to meat factories, the removal being paid for by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. In certain circumstances for animal welfare reasons it may be necessary for animals which are due to calf or have recently calved, to be retained on the holding in isolation for a speciﬁed period;
• Where deemed appropriate, and in particular for calf welfare reasons, by Department Inspectorate, arrangements will be made for the humane euthanasia of reactor calves deemed to be of no commercial value and rapid removal of the carcase to a knackery, the removal being paid for by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
• A range of compensation measures for farmers whose herds are eﬀected by disease;
• Detailed epidemiology and feedback to farmers;
• A comprehensive research programme aimed at optimising detection of TB infected bovines, reduction of transmission to and from bovines, reduction of movement of potentially infected bovines with speciﬁc focus on prevention of movement causing restriction of a hitherto uninfected herd, the development of blood tests, vaccines and other technological tools required to improve eﬀectiveness of programmes and to prevent TB spread by wildlife.
Responsibility for arranging and paying for the ﬁrst herd tests each year rests with farmers. In addition, farmers have primary responsibility for ensuring all measures necessary to protect their own herds are taken and they are also encouraged to assist the Department’s Regional Veterinary Oﬃces (RVO) in research activities, as necessary.
Testing Requirements for TB
All cattle on the holding, regardless of ownership, with the exception of calves under six weeks old which were born in the holding, must be subjected to an annual test. Failure to test by the speciﬁed date and within the required period is likely to result in the prohibition of movement of animals from the herd to other farms, marts, meat plants and points of export and, if relevant, the withdrawal of herd health certiﬁcation under the dairy hygiene regulations. Other sanctions and penalties may also apply.
It is very important that farmers do not medicate animals from the date of receipt of a test notiﬁcation until the test has been completed, or permit such animals to be treated. The use of medications may interfere with the accuracy of the TB test and/or delay removal of infected animals where these are identiﬁed thereby potentially prolonging TB problems in the herd and the duration of the restriction.
Non-urgent treatments, including routine anthelmintic/ﬂuke dosing, should be postponed until the individual test result for the animal is known. Where related issues arise including cases where medication is deemed to be urgent these should be discussed in advance with the testing Veterinary Practitioner and with the RVO. Reactors are required to be removed within 30-days of disclosure, thus, where non-urgent medication results in delays in removal of reactors sanctions and penalties may apply.
Untreated raw milk from reactors or inconclusive reactors should never be consumed
• It is strongly recommended that you do not use or drink unpasteurised milk in your home at any time as this poses grave health risks when there is disease in the herd.
• Milk from reactors, inconclusive reactors or animals showing signs of Tuberculosis must be immediately withheld and must not be included in the milk dispatched to the creamery.
• Milk from the remaining clear animals in restricted herds must only be delivered to a processing plant where it will be heat treated.
• Milk from reactor or inconclusive reactor animals, which has not been heat-treated, must not be fed to calves or other animals however, this milk may be fed to other reactor animals on the farm.
• Milk from reactor or inconclusive reactor animals must be safely disposed of and a record kept of the quantity produced, date and method of disposal.
Causes of infection in cattle
• Breathing air contaminated by already infected animals;
• Consuming contaminated food or water;
• Movement of animals and contact with infected animals e.g. across fences;
• Inter-farm sharing of machinery (cattle trailers, muck/slurry spreaders, etc.) or farm facilities (cattle crushes);
• The use of dirty lorries to transport animals; 10
• Contact with other contaminated fomites;
• Wildlife, especially TB infected badgers, may be a signiﬁcant factor in the persistence of bovine tuberculosis in certain areas.
Precautions against TB Infection
• Have stock-proof boundary fencing preferably suﬃcient to prevent nose-to-nose contact between animals in neighbouring herds;
• Avoid contact with other herds and stock of unknown status;
• Exercise care in buying-in cattle, check animal ID, passport and test details to ensure these relate to the animals you are introducing to your herd. Ensure that only recently tested cattle are allowed onto your farm to mix with your stock; follow general biosecurity principles as recommended by Animal Health Ireland;
• Avoid using dirty contract equipment e.g. cattle transport, slurry spreaders. All such equipment should be cleansed and disinfected before use.
The risk of spread from wildlife can be reduced by keeping cattle and infected wildlife apart and by implementing the following measures:
• Fence oﬀ common watercourses, stagnant ponds, badger setts, sett spoil heaps and badger toilet areas;
• Raise drinking and feeding troughs to over 84 cm (32 inches) in height and locating them away from walls/ditches to prevent access;
• Do not provide hand feeding to cattle where deer can share it e.g. silage/hay in circular feeders. Note meal troughs mineral blocks/licks or so called energy blocks provided at pasture or kept in ﬁelds may also be accessed by badgers and deer;
• Keep feed storage areas, cattle sheds and yards closed so that wildlife cannot gain entry;
• Check ﬁelds regularly for badger carcasses and especially before moving cattle onto new pasture;
• Be aware of unusual sightings of badgers e.g. in daytime. The badgers may be sick from TB – contact your Regional Veterinary Oﬃce in this event.
The ideal long-term answer to the problem of bovine tuberculosis is eradication. The principles of eradication include ﬁnding disease as fast as possible, conﬁning diseased or potentially exposed animals to prevent disease spread and eradication of infection. With an appropriate co-ordinated approach, together with new technology, Ireland can advance towards eradication of Bovine TB.
Compensation Regime for T.B. Eradication
General Conditions Governing the Payment of Compensation
• The main elements of the existing compensation regime are the On-Farm Market Valuation Scheme, the Income Supplement Scheme, the Depopulation Grant Scheme and the Hardship Grant Scheme. In order to qualify for payment, the owner/keeper must meet certain eligibility conditions under each Scheme;
• Entitlement to the payment of compensation is conditional on compliance with the provisions of the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 (as updated) and the Animal Health and Welfare (Bovine Tuberculosis) Regulations 2015 (as updated), with Animal
Remedies legislation, with movement, identiﬁcation , bio security and any other controls laid down under the Diseases Eradication Schemes, including the requirement not to medicate cattle prior to testing unless urgently required and other national/EU legislative requirements and controls relating to bovine animals administered by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
• The Minister may refuse payment of compensation, in whole or in part, where a owner/keeper does not satisfy the aforementioned provisions or where the Minister is satisﬁed that the owner/keeper has failed to co-operate with Authorised Oﬃcers or Veterinary Inspectors of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in carrying out their duties under the Schemes. In addition a person who contrives or fails to comply with the provisions under the aforementioned regulations render that person liable to ﬁne or imprisonment.
Compensation payments are structured to beneﬁt the owner/keeper whose farming practice assists herd health protection. The Department’s Booklet “Compensation arrangements for TB Eradication – Important Information for Herdowners/Keepers” provides useful information in relation to the On Farm Market Valuation Scheme, Income Supplement, Depopulation Grant and Hardship Grant eligibility requirements, rates, etc. The booklet is available on request from the Regional Veterinary Oﬃce or on the Departments website www.agriculture.gov.ie
Even if a herd is clear each owner/keeper should be fully familiar with the terms of the TB compensation regime;
On-Farm Market Valuation
Compensation for cattle removed as reactors is paid under the On-Farm Market Valuation Scheme. Under this scheme, full market values subject to the ceilings referred to below will be payable where herds are stable (i.e. not operating as a feedlot, transient or dealer herd) and where the owner/keeper has complied with the legal and other requirements relating to the disease eradication schemes and to cattle identiﬁcation/registration and veterinary medicine requirements.
For the purpose of valuations, “Market Value” is the equivalent price which might reasonably have been obtained for the animal, at the time of determination of compensation, from a purchaser in the open market if the animal was not aﬀected by TB or was not being removed as part of depopulation under the disease eradication programme. Ceilings limits payable are as set down in legislation by the Minister. (Also see main features below).
TB reactors which have been diagnosed as BVD positive, which limits their value as they cannot be sold on the open market, will not be eligible for compensation in addition to their salvage/insurance value. Furthermore any animals for which a BVD test result is outstanding will require a BVD negative result before being eligible for full market valuation. Note: EU State Aid rules also require that herdowners should not be over-compensated for actual losses arising from the removal of cattle as reactors. Accordingly, herdowners are required to advise the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine of any payments received from private insurance in respect of any animal removed as a reactor. Where such payments are made, the amount payable by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine will be reduced accordingly.
The main features of the live valuation system include:
• Valuations are carried out within prescribed timescales and by reference to guidelines drawn up by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine and his oﬃcials;
• A ceiling of €2,800 (inclusive of factory salvage price payable by the factory and any payment received under a policy of insurance) applies to payments in respect of any single animal, except in respect of one pedigree stock bull per farm per breakdown episode, where a ceiling of €3,500 (inclusive of factory salvage price payable by the factory and any payment received under a policy of insurance) applies;
• The valuation of dairy animals where appropriate is calculated by reference to a notional herd average yield determined by the Department or utilising milk recording ﬁgures. It is important to note that only those milk recording ﬁgures supplied by the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) are acceptable. In addition these will only be considered where the minimum requirement set down by the Department is available. The Department does not accept milk recording ﬁgures where the milk recording commences after notiﬁcation of a restriction of a holding;
• Where the herdowner/keeper or the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine do not accept the initial valuation, they can appeal the valuation. Herdowners who wish to appeal this valuation can do so by returning the appropriate form to the Regional Veterinary Oﬃce within the time scales set down in the scheme documentation;
• Following completion of the on-farm valuation process (i.e. ﬁrst valuation or appeal), the reactor(s) are removed from farms by the
Reactor Collection Service;
• If there is no agreement following an appeal, the matter can, subject to the time frame speciﬁed in scheme documentation being met, be referred to an Arbitration Panel whose decision will be ﬁnal and binding on both parties;
• Where deemed appropriate the Department may decide to have calves of no commercial value removed to a knackery;
• Graduated penalties apply to the ﬁnal compensation payment made to the owner/keeper where he/she unreasonably delays the valuation and/or removal of reactors as well as for other breaches of regulations;
• Herdowners should be aware that the movement of any animal into a restricted holding is prohibited, except with the written permission of the Regional Veterinary Oﬃce and on foot of a movement permit.
• Herdowners are advised that even where written permission has been given which allows the movement of animals into a restricted holding, the animals introduced into the holding will, with some exceptions, be ineligible for payment under the On Farm Market Valuation Scheme. The exceptions applicable, which must also be covered by a written permit but where compensation may be payable, subject to all general criteria being met, relate to the movement in of animals in the following categories: (i) the introduction of replacement stock bull(s), (ii) an emergency replacement suckler calf,
(iii) animals moved into a newly established herd on foot of the relevant permission,
(iv) movement of animals into a herd contiguous to a high risk herd suspended pending test, (v) cases where approval has been given for movement home to a restricted herd of a farmers own test negative animals from a rearing/grazing/feeding herd to alleviate or prevent a welfare problem. Additional test requirements may apply in some of the above cases and will be advised where appropriate.
• When farmers are given permission to move in animals during a restriction period, they should be aware that the movement in of cattle will, with certain limited exceptions, render them ineligible for the Hardship Grant and/or Income Supplement Schemes and they may not be entitled to full payment under the Depopulation Grants Scheme.
An owner/keeper whose herd is depopulated (totally or partially) in the interest of disease control may qualify for Depopulation Grants during the rest period provided the holding or depopulated portion thereof remains free of stock. Depopulation Grants are generally paid for each animal removed in the depopulation measure and for those removed as reactors since the holding was restricted, on condition that the herdowner/keeper agrees to depopulation at the time speciﬁed by the Regional Veterinary Oﬃce.
If this agreement is not received and depopulation takes place subsequently, the herdowner/keeper is excluded from eligibility for Depopulation Grants on all past, present and future reactors during the restriction period i.e. Depopulation Grants will only be paid on the in-contact animals removed at the time of any subsequent depopulation. In addition, Depopulation Grants are not payable on animals (with certain exceptions) which are moved onto the holding during the restriction period. (Full details are available from the RVO). Payment of a depopulation grant in respect of an animal(s) which has been medicated will be considered on a case by case basis. Depopulation Grants are paid in respect of each month of the rest period speciﬁed by the RVO. The maximum rates payable currently in force per animal for an entire 4 month period are as set out below. Pro rata deductions will be made if the rest period after depopulation is less than 4 months:
Income Supplement is payable in stable herds for cases where a TB outbreak results in the
removal of more than 10% of animals in a herd and where depopulation is not deemed appropriate. Payment is in respect of each animal removed as a reactor from a herd during the relevant restriction period, subject to a maximum of 100 animals qualifying for payment. Details of the base animal numbers used to determine when more than 10% of the herd has been removed and criteria which determine the eligibility date for payment under this scheme are set out in the “Compensation arrangements for TB Eradication – Important Information for Herdowners/Keepers”.
A herdowner will not be eligible for Income Supplement with eﬀect from the date cattle (with certain exceptions) are moved into the holding during the restriction period, (even where permission for such movement has been given by the Regional Veterinary Oﬃce). It is important to note that movement of any animal into a restricted herd is prohibited, except with the written permission of the Regional Veterinary Oﬃce and on foot of a movement permit, where appropriate. Where eligibility for payment has already been determined prior to the animals having been moved in, payment of Income Supplement will cease for the remainder of that restriction period from the date of movement into the herd. Payment of the Income Supplement grant in respect of an animal(s) which has been medicated will be considered on a case by case basis but in any event will not be payable for any extended period in the event of animals being retained on the farm until the withdrawal period has expired.
Income Supplement eligibility will also cease in the event of:
• The owner/keeper failing to co-operate with Veterinary Inspectors or Authorised Oﬃcers in carrying out their duties under the Diseases Eradication Schemes, including delays in testing;
• Depopulation (total or partial) of the herd being deemed appropriate by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine;
• De-restriction of the holding (or earlier if de-restriction is delayed as a result of the reactor having being treated with veterinary medicine).
The Hardship Grant eligibility period runs from 1 November to 30 April each year. This Scheme is designed to alleviate the costs diﬃculty of some herd owner/keepers whose holdings are restricted on foot of a herd re-test and where animals are retained and fed during periods of restriction. Some exceptions to the herd re-test rule may apply and are outlined in scheme documentation. Potentially eligible herd owner/keepers must meet certain conditions, including requirements that they (i) must not have any income from milk sales and (ii) must not have any oﬀ farm income.
In addition, the general rule is that where animals (with some speciﬁc exceptions) have been moved on to a holding during a restriction period, eligibility for receipt of the hardship grants ceases for the remainder of the restriction period. Payment of the Hardship Grant in respect of an animal(s) retained on the holding as a result of having been treated with a medicine will be considered on a case by case basis. The Grant may provide eligible owner/keepers with a payment of up €250.00 per month for a period not exceeding 4 months within the period 1 November to 30 April.
The onus is on potentially eligible owner/keepers to ensure that they obtain and familiarise themselves with the relevant terms and conditions document and application form ER97. Potentially eligible owner/keepers are issued with the terms and conditions document, important notice and application form ER97 by the DVO. Supplies of the relevant documentation are also available at DVOs. The onus is on the owner/keeper to apply for a Hardship Grant.
Reactor Collection Service
A key condition for compensation payment eligibility is that all reactors must be removed immediately to slaughter via the Reactor Collection Service/Meat Plant tendering arrangement only, or in the case of certain calves, removal of the carcase to a Knackery where the Department deems this to be necessary. Where herd depopulation is deemed appropriate and the owner/keeper agrees to depopulate the herd, the entire herd must be removed to slaughter promptly in consultation with the RVO.
• A tax reference number (PPS) is required in advance of any payment issuing from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. If compensation payment/s under the scheme will exceed €10,000 in a 12 month period, a Tax Clearance Certiﬁcate is required;
• Entitlement to the payment of compensation is conditional on compliance with the provisions of the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 (as updated), the Animal Health and Welfare (Bovine Tuberculosis) Regulations 2015 (as updated), with Animal Remedies legislation, with movement, identiﬁcation , bio security and any other controls laid down under the Diseases Eradication Schemes, including the requirement not to medicate cattle prior to testing unless urgently required and other national/EU legislative requirements and controls relating to bovine animals administered by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
• The Minister may refuse payment of compensation, in whole or in part, where a owner/keeper does not satisfy the aforementioned provisions or where the Minister is satisﬁed that the owner/keeper has failed to co-operate with authorised oﬃcers or Veterinary Inspectors of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in carrying out their duties under the Schemes. In addition a person who contrives or fails to comply with the provisions under the aforementioned regulations render that person liable to ﬁne or imprisonment.
• In accordance with the payment targets for Direct Payments to farmers agreed under the Farmers’ Charter of Rights, payment of TB compensation will normally be made within 3 weeks of the date of receipt of the required back-up documentation from the owner/keeper and the meat factory. The required back up documentation for valuation payment is detailed in the “Compensation arrangements for TB Eradication Scheme – Important Information for Herdowners/Keepers” Booklet;
• The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine will pay compensation in accordance with the provisions of the compensation regime and speciﬁed payment targets. This does not undermine or compromise the owner/keeper with regard to any appeal. In the event of a successful appeal, the requisite amount will issue as a separate payment;
• The compensation arrangements and rates are adjusted from time to time in consultation with the farm organisations. Any queries in relation to compensation matters should be directed to the appropriate RVO in the ﬁrst instance.
Bovine Brucellosis and Enzootic Bovine Leucosis
Bovine Brucellosis and Enzootic Bovine Leucosis (EBL) has been eradicated in Ireland. However, the Department operates a Monitoring Scheme involving the collection of various samples at slaughter. The samples are analysed for a number of diseases and allows for the monitoring as proof for national disease freedom in particular for Brucellosis and EBL with follow-up testing on-farm in the case of suspect ﬁndings.
The requirement for a Brucellosis pre-movement test was discontinued from 28 September 2015.
As Brucellosis in bovines remains notiﬁable, there is an obligation to report all abortions in cattle to the Department’s local Regional Veterinary Oﬃce (RVO) (see list of RVOs at Appendix 1B) and also an obligation to submit such foetuses, if available, for testing for Brucellosis to a Department Regional Veterinary Laboratory and/or to have the animal that aborted sampled for Brucellosis as soon as possible by your Veterinary Practitioner.
Aujeszky’s Disease and Eradication Programme (PIGS)
In October 2012 Ireland achieved oﬃcial Aujeszky’s free status. Oﬃcial elimination of Aujeszky’s Disease from the national pig herds is of signiﬁcant beneﬁt to the whole Irish pig sector by recognising the health standard of the national herd, by protecting our access to export markets and by allowing Ireland to exploit new market opportunities. Surveillance is carried out annually to maintain Ireland’s disease-free status.
Registration of Holdings and Sites on which Domestic Poultry or Captive Birds are kept: The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine maintains a central record of all holdings or sites on which domestic poultry or captive birds are kept. This information forms an integral part of the Department’s Avian Inﬂuenza contingency planning. It is a statutory requirement, for all holdings and sites on which domestic poultry or captive birds are kept, to be registered with the Department.
If your premises is not already registered with the Department and if, at present or in the near future, you are likely to:
• Own or trade in domestic poultry or other captive birds (such as pheasants, pigeons, sporting birds or exotic birds but not pet birds in domestic households), or
• Keep domestic poultry (even small numbers of chickens, hens, turkeys, ducks or geese for your own or local consumption), you are required by law to register with the Department. Poultry owners should note that failure to register, as required by S.I. No. 114 of 2014, may leave them liable to prosecution under the Regulations.
You may register by completing an application form PR1 (available at your local Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine oﬃce) (see list at Appendix 1B)
• Website: www.agriculture.gov.ie/animalhealthwelfare/animalwelfare
• Completed applications should be returned to your local Department oﬃce.
Bluetongue is a disease that aﬀects all ruminants – cattle, sheep, deer, goats and various exotic animals, including camels, llamas etc. It is caused by a virus spread by biting midges and cannot be naturally transmitted by direct or indirect contact between animals. The midges that spread infection are active between April and October in Ireland and are commonly found around farms. Peak populations of the midges occur in the late summer and the autumn and it is at this time when bluetongue is most seen.
Bluetongue does not aﬀect humans and this disease has no public health signiﬁcance. Neither can the virus be acquired by food.
The main eﬀect is that the virus causes severe and sometimes fatal disease (including a blue tongue, caused by bleeding) in sheep and goats and although cattle are reservoirs, they usually do not get sick. Chronic cases may die in 3-5 weeks from secondary bacterial infections or have a prolonged recovery with hair or wool loss, growth retardation or sterility. Mild cases may make a complete recovery.
In the event of an outbreak, control zones would be established with animal movement restrictions applied. Widespread slaughter of animals is not anticipated. Vaccination is considered to be the appropriate course of action in the event of an outbreak.
Import conditions on live susceptible animals from Bluetongue-restricted areas are in place and are permitted only under deﬁned EU conditions.
Bluetongue is a notiﬁable disease and any suspect cases must be immediately reported to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. Further information on Bluetongue can be found on the Department’s website at agriculture.gov.ie/bluetongue/
Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy(BSE)
BSE is a disease of cattle, which is potentially linked to the fatal human disease, variant CJD (vCJD). Historically its main route of transmission in cattle was through the consumption of feed containing, or contaminated with, meat and bone meal (MBM) from the remains of infected animals. BSE can only be conﬁrmed by post-mortem examination of the brain. Clinical signs may include evidence of anxiety and fear, abnormal gait, pawing the ground or continuous licking of nose, reduced milk yield, frenzy or aggression. Ireland’s BSE controls are consistent with legal requirements and best international practice and recognised as being thorough and eﬀective. The number of BSE cases has declined from a peak of 333 in 2002 to 1 in 2013, no case in 2014 and 1 case in the ﬁrst half of 2015.
BSE suspect animals are destroyed by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and herds are restricted pending the outcome of post-mortem examination. The Department operates a partial depopulation regime that involves the removal of cohorts (as deﬁned in EU legislation) and progeny animals, with compensation paid at market value.
Since March 2013, Ireland is no longer required to test healthy slaughtered bovines over 72 months of age. There is only a requirement to test the following animal categories:
1. Casualties over 48 months of age.
2. On-Farm emergency slaughter animals over 48 months of age.
3. On-Farm fallen stock over 48 months of age.
4. Imported animals over 30 months of age from Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia.
Scrapie is a disease of sheep in the same family as BSE. The incidence of Scrapie in Ireland is relatively low, with a geographical tendency towards the south east. Scrapie, unlike BSE, is horizontally transmissible, especially at lambing time.
Control and Eradication Measures
Since 2004 where cases of classical Scrapie are discovered, the Department organises genotyping of the ﬂock and partial depopulation of sheep most susceptible to Scrapie in line with the development of a harmonised regime at EU level. Its main elements are:
A comprehensive testing programme for the disease is carried out at slaughterhouses and knackeries.
Testing for the disease where a case is suspect by a ﬂock owner or Veterinary Oﬃcer.
Infected ﬂocks are genotyped and the Scrapie susceptible animals are disposed of. Flock owners are subsequently required to breed with Scrapie resistant animals only and are subject to a variety of restrictions, all of which are laid down by EU legislation. The Department’s Scrapie package includes free genotyping, market value compensation for susceptible animals required to be disposed of, and a hardship payment of €84 per breeding ewe.
National Genotype Programme (NGP) (Voluntary Scheme)
NGP assists ﬂock owners in selecting breeding sheep that are less susceptible to Scrapie. SAC Consulting Veterinary Services is the commercial laboratory approved by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to provide a blood testing service for determining the genotype of the sheep.
To participate in the NGP a ﬂock owner applies to the Department to have sheep genotyped, and designates a Private Veterinary Practitioner (PVP) to take blood samples. A Lab-Form containing details relating to the ﬂock owner, the designated PVP and the tag numbers of the sheep to be tested will be generated and issued to the designated PVP. SAC Consulting Veterinary Services enter details of each individual result to the Department’s NGP system. The Department then issues the ﬂock owner with an NGP Certiﬁcate that states the genotype of each of the sheep tested.
Ireland was declared oﬃcially free of leukosis as of 1 March 1993 following a national round of tests carried out in 1991/1992. Commission Decision 1999/465/EC of 13 July 1999 (OJ L181, 1999, page 32) establishes the oﬃcially enzootic-bovine-leukosis-free status of Ireland’s bovine herd. Surveillance is carried out annually to maintain Ireland’s disease-free status.
Each autumn, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine issue a forecast of the incidence of liver ﬂuke, which is updated as required. Stockowners should follow the advice given.
Sheep scab is subject to controls under the (Notiﬁcation and Control of Animal Diseases) Regulations 2014 S.I. No. 110 of 2014. These regulations provides that any person who has an aﬀected animal in his/her possession must notify his/her local District Veterinary Oﬃce. Following receipt of notiﬁcation the Department may restrict a ﬂock for a period of time.
Warbles manifest themselves as bumps rising on the backs of cattle from mid February until the ﬂy emerges between April and June. Herd Owners must notify any infestation and may not move infested cattle without a certiﬁcate of treatment. There has been no evidence of warbles in the domestic herd in recent years, but they may be found in imported cattle and this may result in spread requiring area treatment. Responsible importation protects the herd: buy only from a reputable source and inform your District Veterinary Oﬃce of any intended importations
Animal Health Ireland (AHI)
Animal Health Ireland (AHI) was established in 2009 and is a private company limited by guarantee. It is a legal entity with its own Board of Directors, having been incorporated as a company limited by guarantee. AHI is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine up to a maximum amount subject to matching funding from industry stakeholders. Its aim is to improve animal health standards through a co-ordinate national approach including prioritising research projects and undertaking action programmes. AHI currently address a number of animal conditions/diseases which have negative impacts on production, both at farm level and nationally including Bovine Viral Diarrohea (BVD), Johne’s Disease, Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis (IBR) and Somatic Cell Counts.
Bovine Viral Diarrhoea
AHI commenced a voluntary Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) eradication programme in January 2012. This was followed by a compulsory programme which commenced in January 2013. The current legislative basis for this is set out in S.I. No. 118 of 2014, and it requires all animals born after 1 January 2013 to be tested for the presence of the BVD virus. The test is normally done by means of tissue tag, which can be submitted to a number of designated labs for analysis. A list of designated labs is available on the Animal Health Ireland Website at www.animalhealthireland.ie
The programme requires that all Persistently Infected (PI) animals are removed from the herd and that the dams of PIs are subject to test so as to establish or conﬁrm their status. The rate of compliance to test for the presence of the BVD virus is almost 100%. Compensation is available for farmers who dispose of their PI animals within agreed timeframes. PI animals can be legally disposed of through a knackery or direct to slaughter
i.e. not through sale to an intermediary. Further measures including notiﬁcation of contiguous herds so that they can take precautionary measures and movement restrictions out of and through herds with PIs were introduced in 2015 to accelerate the eradication of this disease. Please see the Department’s website for further details: www.agriculture.gov.ie/animalhealthwelfare/diseasecontrol/bovineviraldiarrhoeabvd/
Control of landing and moving of International Catering Waste
Legislation governing the removal and disposal of International Catering Waste (ICW) includes Council Regulation (EC) No. 1069/2009; Commission Regulation (EU) No.
142/2011; the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 (Number 15 of 2013) and the European Union (Animal By-Products) Regulations 2014 (S.I. No. 187/2014)
Animal by-products not intended for human consumption are a potential source of risk to public and animal health. Past outbreaks of FMD have demonstrated the impact of unregulated use of animal by-products on animal health. Catering waste, as a deﬁned category of ABP, is strictly prohibited as feed for species of farmed animals. ICW presents a particular risk and it is imperative that adequate controls are in place to ensure that ICW when landed and moved in Ireland is disposed of in a manner that minimises risk to public and animal health. Under Article 23 of Regulation (EC) 1069/2009, operators involved in handling or transport of ABP including ICW must be registered with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and authorised to either land or move ICW.
Oﬃcers authorised under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013(No. 15 of 2013) also have powers under the Diseases of Animals (Feeding and Use of Swill) Order, 1985 (S.I. No. 153/1985), the Diseases of Animals (Feeding and Use of Swill) (Amendment) Order, 1987 (S.I. No. 133/1987) and the Diseases of Animals Act, 1966 (Prohibition on the use of Swill) Order, 2001 (S.I. No. 597/2001) to perform the controls and enforcement required to ensure the landing and disposal of ICW in accordance with the above-mentioned regulations.
Fallen Animal TSE Subsidy Scheme
The Fallen Animal TSE Subsidy Scheme ensures that fallen bovines aged over 48 months, which must be BSE tested in accordance with EU legislation, are disposed of in compliance with animal and public health and environmental regulations.
The scheme provides for the subsidised collection and destruction of bovines over 48 months. Category 2 Intermediate plants (knackeries) oﬀering this service to farmers must be app
roved in accordance with the European Communities (Animal By-Products) Regulations, 2014 (S.I. No. 187/2014).
Category 1 rendering plants are used for the rendering and disposal costs of over 48 month fallen cattle. Costs are fully covered by the Scheme and the collection charge to the farmer is capped at €54.03 including VAT.
It is an oﬀence to bury dead animals on farm, except in accordance with a licence issued by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
The BSE testing of fallen animals over 48 months of age is a critical action, and farmers are obliged to contact a knackery within 24 hours of the animal’s death to ensure that the carcase does not deteriorate to an extent that the BSE sample cannot easily be taken. A record should be kept of the time and date of notiﬁcation of the death to the knackery. Carcases awaiting collection must be held in such a way that domestic animals, including farmed livestock and wild animals, cannot gain access to them. Failure to comply with these conditions may lead to prosecution under S.I. No. 187 of 2014.
The animal passport and a completed and signed form NBAS 31D must be available and given to the animal collector when the carcase is picked up from the farm. If the passport for the dead animal is not available, then a FAL 1 permit must be requested from the local Regional Veterinary Oﬃce before the carcase is collected. This permit will be faxed directly to the knackery.