CHeCS bovine TB herd accreditation
This industry-led cattle health programme to evaluate risk and recognise farmers who step up biosecurity to help control bovine TB was launched in November 2016.
CHeCS bTB Herd Accreditation is a voluntary scheme, 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 TB breakdown, awarding a status of 0-10 to correspond with the number of years TB-free. As well as reducing risk of bovine TB infection, the health schemes present informed purchasing opportunities. In particular, it can benefit farmers selling cattle from regions with a high risk of the disease or who wish to minimise exposure from bought-in animals. It can also provide recognition for a farmer’s efforts to complement Government and industry strategies to control infection.
More information is available on the CHeCS website where the handbook can be downloaded. Farmers should discuss joining with their vet, and contact one of the participating CHeCS-accredited health schemes listed on the website. The application form includes a privacy agreement to allow the Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA) to send TB test data automatically to the health scheme provider, and a declaration from the herd vet. After the form is sent back, the herd is awarded a starting score.
How to use the CHeCS bovine TB herd accreditation programme when buying cattle
- CHeCS bovine TB accredited herds implement additional biosecurity measures to control disease, so see if there is a declaration available at the point of sale.
- If the selling herd is CHeCS accredited, the greater the score, the greater the number of years the herd has been TB-free.
- If your herd is registered to an accredited bovine TB health scheme, any added animals should be placed in quarantine before their post-movement TB test is conducted 60-120 days after arrival. If they become TB test reactors, they will not affect the CHeCS TB status of your herd.
How to use the CHeCS bovine TB herd accreditation scheme to minimise the risk of TB
- Work with your herd vet to develop a bovine TB-specific herd health plan and introduce additional biosecurity measures.
- Implementing the additional TB testing and biosecurity measures required by CHeCS, in time, should improve your herd’s resilience to TB.
- A CHeCS accredited health scheme for bovine TB may be especially useful if you are in an area where efforts are being made to control the reservoir of TB infection in wildlife.