PCHS Rules

An outline of rules for the Premium Cattle Health Scheme

This summary is designed as a quick check for prospective members and their veterinary surgeons to assess whether the herd can meet the requirements of the Premium Cattle Health Scheme. The complete text of the rules can be found in the CHeCS Technical Document

Screening and Eradication Programmes for BVD, IBR and Leptospirosis

We advise herds to follow both the CHeCS rules and the principles of Herd Biosecurity. If this is not done then any effort made in screening and removal of reactors is unlikely to result in a long term benefit. However adherence to the rules is not required as herds in this phase of the programme are not certified. However, our firm recommendation is that by adhering to the rules the health of the herd will benefit.

Accreditation Programmes for BVD, IBR, Leptospirosis and Johne’s Disease Risk-Level Assurance Programme

All CHeCS rules must be followed and the principles of Herd Biosecurity adopted in the herd health plan.

Summary of Rules

  • A herd is defined as cattle that are under a unified management system, but not necessarily on one holding.
  • Farm boundaries must prevent cattle from straying off or onto the farm and must prevent nose to nose contact over fences or walls. Double fencing with a space of at least 3 metres between scheme cattle and neighbouring cattle is required where scheme participants are following the IBR and/or BVD Accredited Free programmes.
  • Purchased cattle that are of an inferior health status either from within or without the scheme must enter quarantine for the required period and be tested by the appropriate test(s) for the disease(s) in question.
  • Equipment, livestock trailers and handling facilities that are shared between health scheme cattle and other livestock or non-health scheme cattle must be cleaned and disinfected before use by health scheme cattle.
  • Suitable quarantine facilities in the form of pens or paddocks that do not allow contact with other farm livestock must be available for cattle coming into the herd.
  • Samples can only be collected by
    – a veterinary surgeon
    – someone designated by the veterinary surgeon who is neither the owner of the cattle nor an employee of the owner
    – in the case of milk samples by the milk recorder.
  • Any disease condition that might be attributable to the disease which is the target of the programme must be investigated by the owner’s own veterinary surgeon.
  • Any cattle accredited for BVD, IBR or L Hardjo that attend a show or sale will be deemed to have lost their accredited status. On being returned to the herd of origin such animals must be treated as non-accredited animals and must be isolated and tested according to the requirements of the individual disease programmes.

Herd Biosecurity for Cattle

At the heart of Herd Biosecurity is a system of risk identification and risk management, which will lead to good protection for the herd from infectious disease. Farmers and their veterinary advisors should assess the disease risks in the context of the production objectives for the farm and agree a written Herd Biosecurity Plan. As risks and objectives may change, regular review is required (at least annually) to modify each programme. Herd Biosecurity is an essential element of preventive veterinary medicine and should be incorporated in the “Health Plan” for the farm.

Biosecurity can never be absolute, and, although the advice contained in the Cattle Health Certification Standards (CHeCS) Technical Document is derived from the best technical knowledge available, it does not offer a complete guarantee of prevention of new infection.

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