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The inclusion of CHeCS bovine TB herd accreditation in new TB rules issued by the Welsh government and a consultation recently launched by Defra have been welcomed in a presentation to vets on July 26 at the Royal Welsh Show.

The address, which was part of a seminar hosted by the Welsh government, came from Keith Cutler of Salisbury-based Endell Veterinary Group, chairman of the technical group for Cattle Health Certification Standards (CHeCS).

He said the recognition from both governments that a scheme promoting cattle biosecurity and herd health has a major role to play in reducing the risk and spread of bovine TB was a very positive development.

Mr Cutler said: “CHeCS provides a framework for control of a range of diseases through improved health and biosecurity measures, and CHeCS bovine TB herd accreditation was added to the standards at the end of 2016.

“Now, in Wales, a waiver for post movement testing has been implemented for cattle coming from herds participating in the CHeCS TB programme and classified as Level 10, presenting the lowest risk of a breakdown or spreading the disease.

“Furthermore, a Defra consultation released in early July proposes less frequent testing for herds who are engaged in the CheCS TB programme and have gained a favourable score.

“I am delighted that both governments have officially recognised the contribution the CHeCS TB programme could make to wider control efforts, and are prepared to reward participating farmers.

“The CHeCS standards have been helping farmers to systematically reduce or eradicate diseases such as BVD, IBR and Johne’s Disease for years. Building the new CHeCS protocol for TB into existing government control measures means farmers can earn recognition for extra steps they are taking as well as reduce their risk,” he added.

The new TB programme will require the herd vet and cattle owner to work together on following a number of biosecurity measures already successfully implemented in the five other cattle disease control programmes. Every year a herd is engaged in the programme and is free from a TB breakdown, its ‘score’ will improve, up to a maximum of 10, reflecting the lowest level of risk.

More information on CHeCS and participating health schemes can be found at checs.co.uk. The new Welsh government rules are detailed at gov.wales/topics/environmentcountryside/ahw/disease/bovinetuberculosis/cattlecontrols/Postmovementtesting/?lang=en and the Defra consultation, which is running until September 29, can be found at consult.defra.gov.uk/bovine-tb/simplifying-testing-and-other-control-measures