What are Cattle Health Certification Standards (CHeCS)?

CHeCS runs a protocol for controlling and eliminating infectious endemic diseases in cattle – a bit like a quality control or assurance for cattle health schemes.

It identifies and sets the optimum biosecurity standards, checks the cattle health scheme laboratories are ISO-approved,  and ensures the schemes are reinforcing the required standards on-farm and herd vet-farmer relationship.

The CHeCS standards were first established by the cattle industry in 1999 after the then Ministry for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food stopped its government-run health schemes, as it was recognised that quality control was still needed for disease management programmes.

CHeCS aims to create robust common standards to underpin the control and eradication of the main endemic cattle diseases in the UK and Ireland. This means CHeCS does not provide or manage health schemes itself – but it provides the standards for those that do and wish to be licensed.

 

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Getting started with CHeCS

The first step is to identify which diseases you want to control, and contact a licensed CHeCS Cattle Health Scheme which covers that disease. A list of participating health schemes is at the bottom of each ‘disease’ page.

Herd managers may test for any or all of the diseases at the same time. Where to start depends on a herd’s individual circumstances.

The entry level to a Cattle Health Scheme only requires routine monitoring (which in dairy herds is by regular bulk milk testing). This will give a good assessment of the health status of the herd. Once the health status is known, a herd may progress through a programme of control and eradication to eventual accreditation of disease free status.

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