CHeCS bTB Herd Accreditation

The CHeCS bovine TB Herd Accreditation programme is designed to help you reduce risk of contracting bTB in your herd

This industry-led cattle health programme to evaluate risk and recognise farmers who step up biosecurity to help control bovine TB (bTB) was launched in November 2016.

CHeCS bTB Herd Accreditation is a voluntary scheme which has been welcomed by Defra and the Welsh Government. Working with the herd vet and through health schemes, a herd’s ‘score’ improves every year it is free from a bTB breakdown, awarding a status of 0-10 to correspond with the number of years.

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.

More information is available at www.checs.co.uk where the Handbook can be downloaded. If it sounds advantageous, farmers should discuss joining with their vet then contact one of the participating CHeCS-accredited health schemes listed on the website. The application form includes a privacy agreement to allow the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) to send test data automatically to the health scheme, and a declaration from the herd vet. After the form is sent back, a starting score will be awarded.

How to use the CHeCS bTB Herd Accreditation programme when buying cattle:

  • Any CHeCS bTb Accredited herd will be implementing added biosecurity to control disease, so see if there is a declaration available at point of sale
  • If the selling herd is CHeCS accredited, the greater the score, the greater the number of years since the last breakdown.
  • If you are in the programme yourself, any added animals should be placed in quarantine before their post-movement skin test is conducted 60-120 days after arrival; if they are reactors, they will not affect the CHeCS bTB status of your herd.

How to use the CHeCS bTB Herd Accreditation programme to minimise disease:

  • Working with your herd vet on introducing an appropriate health plan, added biosecurity and additional CECS recommendations will reduce your risk of contracting bTB.
  • In time, this should improve your chances of gaining control of infection on your farm.
  • This may be especially useful if you are in an area where efforts are being made to control the reservoir of infection in wildlife.

Go to www.checs.co.uk for more details.

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