A veterinary health group has launched a maedi visna (MV) scheme that identifies breeding replacements from commercial flocks at low risk of carrying the disease.
Unlike the MV accredited Scheme, the MV monitored-free sheep health scheme will not guarantee flocks are free of infection, scheme developer Axiom Veterinary Laboratories said.
But it would provide buyers with an insight into a flock’s status and therefore provide valuable information when buying in replacements.
The new scheme therefore sits between the level of MV accredited status and above the position of purchasing stock from a flock with an unknown risk level.
Axiom farm vet Catriona Ritchie said scheme membership was likely to appeal to commercial-type flocks, selling breeding female replacements.
It will also attract those who wish to detect infection at an early stage to implement control measures before the economic impact occurs, she added.
How the scheme works
It is a lower-cost, lower-tier scheme than the MV accreditation scheme, so sheep with MV monitored-free status cannot enter MV accredited sections at shows or sales, Ms Ritchie said.
But blood sampling will be carried out on a proportion of the flock to give a 95% confidence the flock is either MV-free or at less than a 5% level.
Flocks will be given MV monitored-free status following a clear screen test.
Testing will be required on an annual basis and the number of years the flock has tested as clear will be shown on the flock health declaration.
Flocks already infected with the disease can join the scheme to benefit from reduced test rates and veterinary advice to help control infection.
The scheme also allows vendors to provide detailed information on treatments like dates for vaccination, wormer, scab and blowfly preventions.
Results of any other tests carried out on the sheep, such as for border disease virus and Caseous Lymphadenitis (CLA) can also be included.
Joining the scheme
To join the scheme, bought-in sheep must either be from MV accredited or MV monitored-free flocks or must be kept separate and have a negative MV test before joining the flock.
The annual membership fee is £45 excluding VAT and the cost of each MV test is £3.50 plus VAT. More information on the scheme and blood test forms can be found at www.cattlehealthscheme.com or obtained by e-mailing email@example.com