The South West Regional Development Agency has committed £12.17m of European development funding over three years to a project named The South West Healthy Livestock Initiative.
The South West Regional Development Agency has committed £12.17m of European development funding over three years to a project named The South West Healthy Livestock Initiative (SWHLI).
This funding recognises the importance of the livestock sector to the South West region where 25% of the national population of livestock is reared.
The aim of the SWHLI is to increase the profitability of the South West livestock industry by improving health and welfare among farmed animals. This initiative is funded by the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) and is delivered through the South West of England Regional Development Agency.
One of the projects to have achieved funding has been developed by Mount Vets’ farm animal department, based in Wellington, Somerset and Stuart Young Veterinary Services based in nearby Plymtree, Devon.
The aim of the project is to control, and if possible, eradicate bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) and Johne’s disease in 40 beef and dairy herds by putting in place a programme of education, training and knowledge transfer, as well as demonstrating the increase in profitability that can be achieved with a programme of testing and control for these two diseases.
The project is proving popular with farmers and 40 herds have already enrolled.
To control the level of disease, the Herdsure Cattle Health Improvement Service (run by the Veterinary Laboratories Agency) will implement a programme of regular blood sampling, testing and management protocols. Initial test results will provide information on the health status of each herd for BVD and Johne’s disease, and the project will work to improve the health status and then monitor the herd to maintain its improved health status.
Using computer models, this three year project will assess the financial impact of BVD and Johne’s disease and the efficacy of any control measures put in place. Where disease control is successful, farms will be able to apply for accreditation for BVD and Johne’s disease through the CHeCS scheme.
The funding for the project is extensive and will cover the costs of all education and veterinary time as well as supporting the testing programme by substantial subsidy. For more details of the project, the two veterinary practices involved can be contacted directly.