About CHeCS – Cattle Health Certification Standards

What is CHeCS?

Cattle Health Certification Standards (UK), abbreviated to CHeCS, is the regulatory body for Cattle Health Schemes in the UK and Ireland.

CHeCS is a non-trading organisation established in 1999 by the cattle industry to control and eradicate a number of diseases using a set of standards to which all licensed Cattle Health Schemes must adhere.

CHeCS’s principal objectives are:

  • To promote improvements in cattle health and welfare.
  • To provide standards and certification for Cattle Health Schemes.
  • To develop and maintain links with cattle farmers, breed societies,veterinarypractitioners, laboratories, Government agencies and animal welfare organisations to promote the above objectives.

These standards ensure that herd health status in one scheme is equivalent to that in all other schemes in the UK and Ireland. Close collaboration by CHeCS with other countries ensures that licensed schemes in the UK and Ireland are as good as any in the world. It is important to note that CHeCS does not run any Health Schemes itself, but it sets the standards for CHeCS licensed Cattle Health Schemes in the UK.

How CheCS works
Cattle Health Schemes provide programmes for the monitoring, control and ultimate eradication of disease.

The schemes also provide certification when a herd meets the agreed national CHeCS cattle health standards.

Contained within the CheCS Technical Document are programmes for the four most important non-statutory diseases that are prevalent in both beef and dairy herds in the UK and Ireland, as well as measures to reduce incidence of Neospora, and steps to reduce the risk of a Bovine TB breakdown.

Estimated UK Dairy Herd Infection Levels
Merck DairyCheck data 2011

BVD Bovine Viral Diarrhoea
JD Johne’s Disease
IBR Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis

Top 3 reasons for getting involved
  1. Herd health schemes protect the overall health, welfare and profitability of the herd, and provide a very noticeable reduction in annual losses.
  2. It’s easy to get started, and plenty of support is on offer along the journey.
  3. More and more farmers only want to buy cattle from herds that are known to be healthy.
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Who is behind CHeCS?

CHeCS is a non-trading organisation owned by:

British Cattle Veterinary AssociationThe cattle specialist division of the British Veterinary Association.
BCVA, and its members, offer advice to farmers and the industry on cattle heath and welfare issues, including veterinary advice on endemic disease and exotic disease outbreaks. www.bcva.eu/bcva
National Beef AssociationThe main voice for all UK cattle producers and finishers and aims to serve as the beef industry leader.
The NBA is open to everyone with an interest in the British Cattle Industry and aims to identify and promote highest possible levels of best practice throughout the production chain. www.nationalbeefassociation.com
Holstein UKEurope's largest independent breed society offers a range of services to the dairy farming industry.
Holstein UK is Europe’s largest independent breed society. We offer a range of services to the dairy farming industry dedicated in improving the genetics and profitability of the UK Holstein Breed. www.ukcows.com
National Cattle Association (Dairy)National Cattle Association (Dairy) is an umbrella organisation for the 11 dairy breed societies in the UK.
Email timbrigstocke@hotmail.com for more information.


It received startup funding from the Milk Development Council (latterly DairyCo then AHDB Dairy), and the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF) provides administrative back-up.

To ensure that CHeCS is operating to best practice and takes into account the latest available science, a technical group comprising representatives from the CHeCS licensed Cattle Health Schemes plus a number of recognized international experts on the diseases of interest meet annually to review the Technical Document, which has been edited by Dr Elizabeth Berry.