UK - A new industry-led cattle health programme to evaluate risk and recognise farmers who step up biosecurity to help control bovine TB (bTB), launches today on a dairy farm at Iron Acton near Bristol.
CHeCS bTB Herd Accreditation, a voluntary scheme which has been welcomed by Farming Minister George Eustice and Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths, improves a herd’s ‘score’ every year it is free from a bTB breakdown, awarding a status of 0-10.
The scheme is run by Cattle Health Certification Standards (CHeCS), which was established in 1999 by the cattle industry to set standards for the control and eradication of endemic diseases. This new bTB scheme will require the herd vet and cattle owner to work together on following a number of biosecurity measures already successfully implemented in five other cattle disease control programmes.
As well as reducing risk of infection, the country-wide programme could present informed purchasing opportunities. In particular, it could benefit farmers selling cattle from regions with a high risk of the disease or who wish to minimise exposure from bought-in animals. It could also give recognition for a farmer’s efforts to complement Government and industry strategies to control infection.
Farming Minister George Eustice welcomed the scheme, saying: “Dealing with Bovine TB is costing us £100 million a year and causing devastation and distress for farmers and rural communities across the country. 33,000 cattle were slaughtered because of the disease last year alone and many farms are subject to movement restrictions which can affect their trade.
“But we know some 40 per cent of herds in the high-risk area in England have never had a breakdown, and the CHeCS scheme will help them to communicate this so they can carry out risk-based trading to support their businesses.
“The scheme will also recognise those practicing good biosecurity, which is a core part of our long-term plan to tackle bovine TB.”
The scheme complements the Government’s 25-year plan to eradicate Bovine TB in England, and will provide another tool for farmers who want to show they are following best practice. It follows the launch of the TB Hub (www.tbhub.co.uk), which offers practical advice and guidance as well as background into the disease.
Find out more at www.checs.co.uk.
TheCattleSite News Desk