CHeCS (Cattle Health Certification Standards) is the self-regulatory body for cattle health schemes in the UK and Ireland.
New CHeCS bTB Herd Accreditation Scheme
A new CHeCS bovine tuberculosis (bTB) herd accreditation scheme launched last November, which will help farmers evaluate risk and identify cattle who carry a lower risk of bringing bTB onto the farm.
bTB Scoring System
A herd is given a score from 0-10, which improves with each year the herd is free from a bTB breakdown. The scoring system is fairly simple:
To be given a score, a herd must meet the requirements of the scheme, including extra pre- and post-movement testing, please refer to the CHeCHs table of requirements for more information.
Is The New Scheme Right For Me?
The scheme will particularly suit farmers who are:
- In a high-risk area with a low-risk holding
- Selling livestock and wanting their low-risk status recognised
- Buying livestock and wanting to minimise their risk of introducing bTB
- Already using other CHeCS programmes
- Looking for a systematic, supported way to reduce the risk of bTB in their herd
- Keen to complement government and industry efforts to control infection
Research has shown that in low-risk areas, purchased cattle are responsible for 70% of bTB breakdowns, whereas only 36% of breakdowns in ‘Edge’ areas are from purchased cattle but 45% are from local exposure (this is likely to be similar in high-risk areas). Indirect contact is thus an important source of infection, especially in Edge and high-risk areas, and so targeted biosecurity could lead to reduced infection risk.
Herds signing up to the CHeCS scheme will need extra biosecurity to control disease. Any animals brought onto the holding should be placed into quarantine until they have been post-movement tested 60-120 days after arrival. This will maintain the CHeCS bTB status of the rest of the herd if any of the new arrivals are reactors, and will also stop them spreading disease to the rest of the herd.
Improving biosecurity and following the CHeCS guidelines will reduce the risk of contracting bTB, and the system should help with making informed decisions when buying cattle, especially from high-risk areas. To join you will need to give the APHA permission to send test data to the health scheme. For more information visit the CHeCS website.
If you would like to discuss this further, please contact us.
This article was originally written by Chantal Bryant BVM&S BSc MRCVS