Farmer fined for BVD-related movement offences in Northern Ireland

A livestock farmer in Northern Ireland has been fined £750 for breaching cattle movement rules aimed at preventing the spread of bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD).

Noel Henry Thornton, from Cam Road, Derrylin, Enniskillen, pleaded guilty to three charges of having in his possession cattle that had been moved in contravention of the Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) Eradication Scheme Order (Northern Ireland) 2016.

At Enniskillen Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday (14 November), the 64-year-old farmer was fined £750 plus a £15 offender levy.

See also: How a Welsh dairy farm achieved BVD-free status

He is the first farmer in Northern Ireland to be convicted of BVD-related offences.

The case arose from a cattle identification inspection and follow-up investigation of Mr Thornton’s herd by officers from the NI’s Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs’ (Daera) welfare and enforcement branch.

BVD-positive animals from another herd were also found on Mr Thornton’s premises.

Industry-led scheme

BVD is a highly contagious viral infection of cattle, which causes a range of clinical problems. Most infected animals do not survive to a productive age and it currently affects more than 8% of cattle herds in Northern Ireland.

An industry-led scheme to eradicate BVD from Northern Ireland has been supported by legislation since 2016. Beef and dairy farmers are required to tag and test all newborn calves and the movement of positive animals between herds is prohibited.