bTB and the Importance of Good Herd Management
At a talk on bTB (bovine tuberculosis) at the recent British Cattle Veterinary Association conference, the question was raised ‘Are we really making much of a difference?’
The sad reality is that, despite the best efforts of the farming and veterinary communities, the number of cattle slaughtered as a result of bTB increased in the 12 months to June this year in both England and Wales. This is despite the implementation of badger culling.
One thing that is universally agreed upon is that in the battle against bTB, good herd management is essential. The Cattle Health Certification Standards (CHeCS) introduced a bTB herd accreditation programme in December 2016 which is available through health scheme providers, such as HiHealth Herdcare. The CHeCS bTB programme gives a herd grading system based on their bTB history, enables herds to reduce their disease risk and facilitates risk based trading.
How does it work?
Herds signed up to the CHeCS bTB health scheme give permission for the APHA to share their statutory routine surveillance testing history with their health scheme provider. Participating herds are awarded a score of 0-10, based on the number of years they have been officially bTB free (OTF) without a bTB breakdown. Cattle from score 10 herds, which have not had a bTB breakdown for 10 years or more, are considered to carry the least risk of spreading disease.
What does Biobest offer?
Biobest’s HiHealth Herdcare is one of the leading CHeCS accredited cattle health scheme providers. The scheme exists to help cattle owners minimise economic loss resulting from sick cattle and gain assurance about the health status of their cattle. HiHealth Herdcare offers a number of membership levels which cover accreditation for bTB as well as a number of other diseases prevalent in cattle. ‘bTB only’ membership starts at only £35 a year, whilst ‘full’ membership, which includes accreditation for one or more further diseases, including BVD, leptospirosis, IBR, Johne’s disease and Neospora, as well as bTB is £110 a year. Given the ever increasing drive to tackle bTB, there has never been a better time to sign up to HiHealth Herdcare.