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Stackyard News Jan 2010

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Beef Shorthorns Build on Health Scheme Success

The Beef Shorthorn Society is building on the success of the first 12 months of its innovative health scheme which involves mandatory blood testing of all animals at official sales.


Beef Shorthorn cattle

The society took the lead when it introduced mandatory blood testing for BVD, Lepto and IBR for last year’s February (2009) multi-breed sales in Perth and since then other beef breed societies have introduced health status rules for sales.

Beef Shorthorn Society secretary Frank Milnes, said: “The first 12 months of mandatory blood testing for BVD, Lepto and IBR has been very successful and several high profile purchasers have made it very clear that they would not bid for cattle which had not been blood tested.

“It is encouraging to see that other breed societies, particularly those involved with multi-breed sales, are also now insisting on health information being displayed at society sales,” added Mr Milnes, who believes high health status is crucial to secure both home and export markets for stock.

“The ongoing message is clear - 'Don't buy infection into your herd, know what you are buying and buy with confidence at a Beef Shorthorn Society sale’.”

Society directors decided two years ago that the new policy would be introduced allowing only cattle blood tested for BVD (Bovine Viral Diarrhoea) Leptospirosis and IBR (Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis) for all society sales from January 2009, unless already accredited under a herd health scheme.

The scheme has the backing of NFU Scotland, livestock auctioneers’ associations and CHeCs, (Cattle Health Certification Standards (UK), a self regulatory body for cattle health schemes.

“We believed the scheme would be advantageous for both the vendor and the purchaser to give confidence that cattle bought at society sales are of a known health status - and this has proved the case at sales in 2009.

“The cost of a blood test is small in comparison to the potential damage an infected animal could cause to a herd,” he added.

The Beef Shorthorn Society uses the industry developed health pen cards approved by CHeCS at sales so that the health information is standardised and the more these cards are used the more conversant purchasers will become on their interpretation.

The society has now added a Herd Health Declaration which will be printed at the front of the sale catalogue giving prospective purchasers information about the herd health status of vendors with animals to sell.

link Charolais Cattle Demand Buoyed by Commercial Marketplace
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link Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society Set Tight Health Status Rules

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Beef Shorthorn Cattle Society