BIOCHECK® – protecting Australia’s cattle
Specialist cattle veterinarians have developed a program to help protect the biosecurity of Australia’s cattle farms. Known as BIOCHECK®, it is a program run by members of the Australian Cattle Veterinarians, a special interest group of the Australian Veterinary Association. It allows veterinarians to help farmers make a biosecurity plan efficiently and well.
The BIOCHECK® Biosecurity plan is designed to ensure that the farm has considered the major biosecurity risks and has appropriate risk management strategies in place.
Biosecurity plans are a requirement of the Livestock Production Assurance (LPA) program as of October 2017, and biosecurity plans overseen by a veterinarian are a requirement of having a Johne’s disease status of JBAS-7 or 8 as of 30/6/17.
This plan is not an audited quality assurance program nor is it a guarantee against incursion by pests or disease. Rather it is evidence that the major biosecurity risks have been discussed and plans made to manage these are appropriate to the individual farm.
What is the process?
As part of the BIOCHECK® process, veterinarians work with producers to look at the major biosecurity risks that are nationally recognised, and rate how the risks are being managed on their properties.
The veterinarian will then create a plan that can be distributed to farm employees and end customers.
It’s important to note that farms don’t pass or fail a biosecurity plan. It is simply an assessment of the risk of disease. It’s important to note that while veterinarians discuss the risks with producers, it is up to the producer as to what they do to minimise their own risks.
AVA also suggests that farmers ask for a copy of the biosecurity plan from wherever they purchase stock. This will allow producers to better assess the disease risk to their property prior to introducing any new stock.