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Launch of Cattle Health Declaration
21/02/06

At the end of 2005, Scotland’s livestock representatives agreed a common, industry-wide cattle health declaration form, aimed at improving the consistency of information provided to buyers, the launch of which took place yesterday.

Previously, many different formats had existed for cattle health declarations, all trying to convey the same information. Different breed societies had their own declarations and some individual sellers also created their own individual formats. To simplify the whole process, an all industry stakeholder group, facilitated by NFU Scotland and made up of representatives from breed societies, auction marts, producer organisations, vet bodies and health scheme providers worked together to create one all encompassing form.

Nigel Miller, Chairman of the NFU Scotland Livestock Committee and a former vet, said:

“It is in the interest of all individual livestock keepers to reduce the risk of introducing any disease into his or her animals and in the interest of the industry as a whole to prevent the spread of disease should it occur.

“Cattle health certificates are therefore increasingly important and are a great way of adding value within the industry. It seems likely that there will come a time when health declarations are mandatory.

“It is therefore a superb achievement that this diverse group of stakeholders has managed to share expertise and create this superior and more easily interpreted health declaration form.

“Buying in animals carries a risk of introducing disease and the source of replacement livestock influences the degree of risk. The Scottish Cattle Health Declaration will help buyers assess the relative risk of buying individual animals at the sales by providing specific disease-related information. Using this information will help to safeguard livestock health.

“This step forward will also progress the industry as a whole, potentially further improving the health status and reputation of Scottish produce and in turn helping to boost trade figures and prices. The real advantage lies in the fact that both buyers and sellers will benefit - sellers from added value and buyers from assured performance and disease avoidance.”

Ross Finnie, Environment and Rural Development Minister, said:
“We are committed to protecting and improving the health and welfare of livestock in Scotland. The Animal Health and Welfare Strategy emphasises the critical role of partnership in progressing this aim. The cattle health conference in May 2005 was successful in bringing together a wide range of stakeholders.

“The Scottish Cattle Health Declaration is a tangible and practical outcome from discussions at the conference and I congratulate NFU Scotland for encouraging its development from concept to reality. It will help farmers to deliver strong biosecurity and improvements to the health and welfare of Scottish livestock, and help maintain sustainable livelihoods for Scottish farmers.”

NOTES:

  • Stakeholders in the series of meetings were: National Beef Association, Aberdeen Angus Cattle Society, British Limousin Cattle Society, British Veterinary Association, Quality Meat Scotland, Scottish Agricultural College, HI Health, Biobest, Moredun, United Auctions & CHeCS.
  • CHeCS is a cross-industry body set up by the NBA, National Cattle Association (Dairy), Holstein UK and British Cattle Veterinary Association to make sure that all cattle health schemes operating in the UK are working to common standards.

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