The Beef Shorthorn Society is the first to demand that only cattle tested for BVD, Leptospirosis and IBR will be allowed to enter for society sales unless already accredited under a herd health scheme.

Society secetary Frank Milnes hopes other breed societies follow suit, particularly those involved in multi-breed sales. “The message we are giving is don’t buy infection into your herd, know what you are buying and buy with confidence,” he says.

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

The first sales covered by the new rules are at Perth multi-breed sales next month with Shorthorn females sold on 2 February and bulls the following day.

Blood tests will be displayed on an official health pen card approved by CHeCS and while the scheme does not mean that herds have to be members of a health scheme, the society wants to give a consistent health declaration to prospective buyers.

Mr Milnes urges other pedigree beef societies to follow the shorthorn’s innovative and forward thinking approach to secure both home and export markets for their stock.