I propose to take Questions Nos. 241 and 242 together.
BVD is a viral disease of cattle that is estimated to cost Irish farmers around €102m each year. The issue of compensation during the compulsory phase of the BVD programme must be placed in the context of the economic benefits accruing to farmers arising from the eradication of this disease as well as the scarce budgetary resources available to my Department. The benefits of the BVD programme represent a private good to farmers: profitability improves as a result of the removal of BVD persistently infected (PI) animals from herds and the payback period for the removal of these animals is very short (6 months for dairy cattle and one year for beef cattle).
Eradication of BVD disease is important to farmers and the strategy of my Department remains one of concentrating its scarce resources in continuing to support Animal Health Ireland financially in its ongoing work in developing the necessary infrastructure to eliminate the occurrence of BVD from the national herd, thereby minimising financial losses for farmers and improving animal welfare. The BVD Order (SI 532 of 2012) requires all calves born on or after 1 January 2013 in the State to be tested for the BVD virus. Persistently infected (PI) animals will shed high levels of virus throughout their lifetime and are a major source of infection for other animals. In light of this, the Order prohibits the movement of these animals except for disposal directly to slaughter or under Ministerial permit.