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Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society Launch Herd Health Declarations Initiative 2009-03-31

In an attempt to standardise cattle health information available at point of sale, as of May this year the Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society is set to introduce herd health declarations and information at collective society sales.

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Explaining how the process will work, Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society chief executive Ron McHattie says “at the time of entry vendors will be asked to complete a herd health declaration form detailing TB testing status; membership of CHeCS health schemes and Johnes, BVD, IBR and LEPTO status.

“This information will be used in two ways. A condensed version of the herd health sale declaration will be produced in a Vendor’s Index within the respective sale catalogue. This will be supplemented by herd health sale declaration cards, based on the information provided and produced by the breeder for display above each herd’s pens.

“The information requested has been kept simple to make it clear and understandable for members and customers. Helpful explanatory notes will also be included within the sale catalogue for members and customers.”

By definition, Mr McHattie adds “this is a herd health declaration not a declaration for the individual animal. And although it is not compulsory, the Society has recommended vendors to complete the declaration.” Where a member has chosen not to complete the herd health sale declaration, it will simply say ‘No Herd Health Declaration.’

In a further planned development, as of early 2010 all cattle entered for official Society sales will be required to come from herds which are BVD accredited. In the first instance, cattle will require to be BVD vaccinated within 12 months prior to the sale date.

If the herds are not BVD accredited then those animals entered for sale will need to be tested for BVD antigen and vaccinated against BVD within three months prior to sale. These steps will ensure cattle sold are not BVD PI’s (persistent infectors), nor of risk to other cattle.

In a separate initiative specifically targeted at addressing Johne’s disease, the Society will be the first to require that all cattle entered for sale must come from herds annually testing for Johne’s in a CHeCS Approved Health Scheme or from Johne’s accredited herds. This requirement will be operational from early 2010.

“While Johne’s disease is perhaps the most difficult to diagnose and control, ensuring that entries come from CHeCS approve health schemes gives buyers the assurance that all the herds are in the process of monitoring and improving their health status and in particular with reference to Johne’s disease,” adds Mr McHattie.

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Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society