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Animal Health & Welfare Wales

Animal Health & Welfare Wales (AHWW), established to support the Welsh farming industry by delivering solutions to some of its key animal health and welfare challenges.

Gwaredu BVD young stock screen is free of charge, with an additional £500 available to support PI hunts if needed.

Click here for more info.


Gwaredu BVD (CPD Online Training)

Helping you protect clients' cattle for the future

Bovine Viral Diarrhoea is a viral disease in cattle that causes immunosuppression and reproductive failure. The disease can reduce fertility, increase incidences of abortion and cause pneumonia in affected stock, creating drastic, long-lasting personal and financial effects on all affected client farms. Testing happens alongside the farm’s annual TB test, and requires just five animals between nine and 18 months to be blood sampled. The samples can be posted immediately to the lab where they will be tested for BVD antibodies. If there are BVD antibodies present on the farm, then finding and removing persistently infected animals is recommended, as they can cause problems to the rest of the herd.

The welfare and financial consequences are significant, with an approximate cost of £4,500 per year for the average beef herd, and £15,000 for dairy herds as a result of poor fertility, reduced milk yields, low daily live weight gains, fever, diarrhoea and respiratory problems. Screening is free, and the programme also provides up to £500 for livestock farmers to work with you on PI cattle, but this funding will run out in 2020 when testing is likely to be compulsory.

photograph of a field of cows

BVD testing in Wales

The Gwaredu BVD £10 million three year voluntary screening programme is available to all 12,000 Welsh cattle farms, and is managed by Coleg Sir Gâr’s Agriculture Research Centre in partnership with the Royal Veterinary College. It involves BVD screening at the same time as TB testing to provide the necessary support and guidance to ensure farmers can correctly and quickly identify herds infected with BVD. Support will also be available to find the persistently infected (PI) animals from infected herds.

Eradicating BVD is a priority of the Wales Animal Health and Welfare Framework Group, and is funded by the Welsh Government’s Rural Development Programme. Over 50% of farms in Wales have been screened in the first year of the programme.

Why is testing so important? Winter Fair 2018

We spoke to a range of people at the 2018 Winter Fair to get their take on why testing is so important. Find out more by watching the video.


BVD is costing our farmers a lot of time and money and it often leads to further health issues in cattle which can be devastating. Gwaredu BVD is a fantastic opportunity for farmers that will help with the problem in order to support their farms to be more profitable.

- Delana Davies, Farming Connect

Farmer Gwion Owen of Hendre Arddwyfaen, Ty Nant, Corwen had his herd tested, and said: “The whole process was very quick and easy and didn't cost me anything. I now have the reassurance of knowing that my herd is free of BVD which is so important for cow fertility and many other reasons.”

- Farmer Gwion Owen of Hendre Arddwyfaen, Ty Nant, Corwen

One of the key principals of the Animal Health and Welfare framework is ‘partnership working’, and...this collaborative approach in working and delivery is an excellent model and that should be applied to all programmes also. I would ask all... to continue encouraging other cattle keepers in Wales to participate and know what their BVD-status is.

- Minister of Energy, Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths

Eradicating BVD is one of the most important initiatives in Wales for two reasons. This is an immune depressing disease and so managing it is very important to stop cattle becoming susceptible to other disease. Secondly, it's important we have a high standard of animal heath and welfare in Britain so that we have a point of difference for our produce compared to other counties in the world.

- Wyn Jones, Chair of the Strategy Advisory Board for Farming Connect

Tests show that more than a quarter of Welsh beef and dairy herds are infected with BVD, so we need to help livestock farmers across Wales to work with us to diagnose if their herd has been exposed to the virus, and to seek and remove any infected animals.

- Dr Neil Paton, Lecturer in Farm Animal Health and Production at the Royal Veterinary College