Assessing economic and social pressure for the control of bovine viral diarrhoea virus George J Gunn & Helmut Saatkamp & Helmut Saatkamp
Why do we want to assess pressure for the control of BVDV ? Because we see a contradiction between what science tells us and what is happening out there.
Why are we examining economic and social pressure ? These are always the drivers for farm business level decisions
What have the other speakers told us? u Fascinating epidemiology of this disease u Pestivirus are an important group u BVDV often causes serious damage to the bovine host u It must cause serious income loss to all affected farm businesses u Examined the different possibilities for control
What have the other speakers told us? u Vaccines u Marker vaccines u Control strategies u Eradication u Improved tests u Virus isolation u and so on………..
As scientists we would accept that there is strong evidence that: u BVDV infections can be a serious welfare problem u BVDV significantly damages the farm business u BVDV results in less efficient use of farm resources u BVDV results in society paying higher food prices
So after the last two days who could blame the audience for thinking that there could not be a more important disease than BVD?
So how are our farm businesses responding to this serious threat? u Excellent example of the Scandinavian countries u Norway, Finland, Sweden & Denmark close to eradication u Iceland free u Shetlands eradicated BVD u Now who else? u Germany, Italy, Austria, Scotland and France have started regional programmes u The Netherlands, Portugal and mainland UK have voluntary programmes u Most EU countries have some initiatives
BUT………….BUT…………. u Although these are great examples they do not include many of Europes cattle u Most European farmers do not know what BVD stands for u (probably as sister football team to PSV :>)) u Most European veterinary surgeons do not appear to think BVD is important u more interested in dogs, cats & rabbits u The public certainly do not know what B VD stands for u a B list sexually transmitted disease?
What are the public interested in? u Increasingly interested in cattle welfare u Large variation between different countries and regions u Interested in zoonotic diseases: BSE, salmonella etc. u Interested in dramatic media images such as FMD & TSEs u Really BVD only scores for welfare
What interests the farmers? u Farm resources are limited u Disease is often not top of the list for allocation of scarce resources u Farmers award higher priorities to other matters such as labour costs and animal feed u Diseases with obvious production and welfare links such as mastitis and lameness are more likely to attract attention
What interests the farmers? BVD is rather occult and so is easy to ignore
So where does BVD fit in? u BVD occupies an intermediate status as an endemic disease u This may be less than it deserves u OIE status for CSF raises awareness but then the disease does that for itself (HS) u Immunosuppression, depressed fertility and congenital abnormalities are all non-specific
Our group have focussed on farm business level economic arguments using existing models
Beef herd breakdown of costs Total Cost = £38 per cow p.a. Calf Immune Suppression (7%) Other Calf Losses (5%) PI Calves (18%) Abortions (9%) Reproductive Loss in Cows (17%) Reproductive Loss in Heifers (28%) PI Cows & Heifers (16%) (CF)
ExamplesExamples u Results of survey u Use UK model to compare results for different countries/regions u Use Dutch model to examine benefit/cost ratios for control
Survey for critical parameter estimates u Herd size u PI prevalence among purchased u Biosecurity risk u Milk price u Livestock value u Veterinary costs u Blood test cost u Bulk milk test cost
Sero-prevalence Dutch situation open herd with three groups with BVD control Sero-prevalence Dutch situation closed herd with three groups without BVD control
Benefit/Cost-ratios for different Dutch situations
Conclusions for Dutch situation Feasibility BVD control program: u open herd with single group: worthwhile u open herd with three groups : worthwhile in 50% of cases u closed herd: u Only worthwhile for worst case scenarios u However the costs of establishing closed herd not included: decide on herd to herd basis
Constrained by lack of reliable data u Slowly reliable farm level data is being established for different countries (FB) u However the economic teams are genuinely constrained by the lack of reliable information u Meanwhile they are developing new methods to explore the socio-economic issues surrounding BVDV (AS & RH)
Conclusions 1 u An information gap exists u Our objective must be to provide better decision support data for stakeholders F for government F for veterinary practice F for farmers u We need to establish more facts u We need to agree among ourselves
Conclusions 2 u More work requires to be done to convince decision makers that BVDV control is a worthwhile use of resources and deserves a higher priority u The only way that this can be achieved is through improved education
AcknowledgementsAcknowledgements u The Milk Development Council (MDC) funded the dairy cow research project u The Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs Department provide SAC with financial support and funded the projects to develop the methodologies used for this study and the beef cow project u Thank the BVD Thematic Network for inviting me to speak u In particular thank our colleagues Alistair Stott, Roger Humphry, John Santarossa and Hybert Groenendaal
Letter from America People never call me because they are having a good day. They only call me when they are really pissed-off and want to know which rat-bastard to sue. uJuJuJuJ. R. 2004