Free animal health system launched at AgriLIVE

A new, free animal health system, will allow beef and dairy farmers in the south east to improve the health status of their animals and reduce disease costs, according to vet Matt Dobbs.

Speaking at the launch of The Livestock Assurance South East Region (LASER) at the inaugural AgriLIVE Smithfield, Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire,  he said the system would not only help farmers in the south east improve the health of their stock, it could also help them get a premium for animals they are selling.

“There are major benefits to LASER because users will not only know their current disease status, which could enable farmers to get a premium when selling, it will also make buying animals of the same disease status easier.”

He said it also took the myth out of infectious disease with the biggest benefit coming from improvement in cattle health by controlling disease.

LASER uses health data farmers and vets already have with users awarded a bronze, silver, gold or platinum health status by their vet based on what measures they have taken to control disease, explained Mr Dobbs.

Five diseases are covered by the system – BVD, IBR, Leptospirosis, Johne’s and Bovine TB. A bronze rating means there is unknown infection or active infection in the herd. A silver rating means steps are being taken to control diseases such as vaccination, while gold shows further measures such as screening and strategic culling are being taken to control the disease. The platinum award shows the herd is accredited free of the disease with both gold and platinum only awarded to herds belonging to one of the Cattle Health Certification Standards (CHeCs) Scheme.

All vets in the region have signed up to the scheme which is being funded by EBLEX. “Once vets are signed up this automatically means all farmers become members. We are trialling this in the south east first to make sure it works, but hopefully after one year it will be rolled out across the UK and also a similar system drawn up for sheep producers.”