Laws aimed at eradicating a disease that proves costly to the agriculture industry are being bolstered.
Farmers are required by law to undertake testing of cattle for bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) and there are restrictions on the movement of infected animals.
Whilst the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA) holds records of test results, the law doesn’t currently permit it to disclose the information to third parties.
The Department is this month asking Tynwald to approve an Order allowing those considering purchasing cattle to check records to establish whether the animals or the herd are – or have recently been – infected with BVD.
Infected animals can pass the disease to healthy ones and BVD also spreads when secretions travel on farmers’ clothing, boots, vehicles etc.
It’s estimated the disease costs the Island £750,000 a year.
DEFA is working towards the eradication of the disease, which damages farmers’ livelihoods.
It has the support of the Manx National Farmers’ Union, which promotes good animal husbandry.
Geoffrey Boot MHK, Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture, said: ‘BVD is costly in terms of animal welfare and in terms of the cost of treating sick animals, losing animals and reduced farm production.
‘Allowing those considering purchasing animals to check records for disease will hopefully reduce the spread of BVD. It complements a guiding principle of the Programme for Government, that we are a responsible Island.’
If the Order is approved by Tynwald, it will come into force on 1st August.