BVD is a viral disease of cattle that is estimated to cost Irish farmers around €102m each year. The non-provision of funding for compensation during the compulsory phase of the BVD programme must be placed in the context of the economic benefits accruing solely to farmers arising from the eradication of this disease as well as the scarce budgetary resources available to my Department. 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.
BVD is not comparable to either bovine TB or Brucellosis which are zoonoses, i.e. communicable to humans. The eradication of these zoonotic diseases is of public health and economic importance nationally. 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).