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Health and Welfare Policy Manager Penny Middleton's Blog - 19 March 2020

In these unprecedented times the health and welfare of ourselves and our animals has never been as important. In her latest blog, Health and Welfare Policy Manager Penny Middleton looks at the biosecurity measures we need to bear in mind

As the world goes crazy over coronavirus, with people washing their hands, buying stocks of hand wash, hand sanitizer and face masks, others are asking ‘why does it take a new disease threat to make people wash their hands?’  None of the information being given out is new, it is all common sense practical measures help protect against many of the other common diseases that might also be a serious risk to ourselves and those around us - so why don’t people practice them routinely?

The same is true for livestock biosecurity, why does it take the threat of a ‘Reportable disease’ to make people examine and step up their biosecurity?  Reportable diseases are diseases that threaten the country’s ability to trade, or that might pose a threat to human health, but here are many other serious diseases out there, endemic or exotic, that can have a serious impact on your herd or flock.  

There is no compensation or support for tackling non notifiable diseases but many can have a serious impact on productivity, and can be expensive to eradicate, without compensation and support.  They can also be highly contagious, spreading easily where biosecurity is not 100%, so why aren’t we all practicing good biosecurity all the time?

Biosecurity is not new, doesn’t have to be expensive and can really make a difference for the health and productivity of your herd or flock.  Despite this it is something that isn’t always at the top of the agenda for many - unless the press are whipping us up into a frenzy about something new and scary.  There are so many diseases out there that you should be worrying about, AI, IBR, MV, PRRS to name a few, and it is mostly within your own gift to protect your herd/flock through careful buying practices and good biosecurity/hygiene.  

Biosecurity may not be exciting but it should always be at the forefront of your mind identifying and mitigating risks in every situation. So as you wash your hands today rather than singing happy birthday twice, take the time to think about what biosecurity you have in place and if you could do more.

For more information on sensible biosecurity measures see https://www.gov.scot/publications/biosecurity-practices-for-animal-health-guidance/

Author: Penny Middleton

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About The Author

Penny Middleton

Although city born I have always had a strong interest in animals and the countryside. I have a Master’s degree in Livestock Production from the University of Aberdeen and spent some additional time doing research work some of which necessitated working on farm with livestock. I worked as an Inspector for the Scottish SPCA for a number of years before taking over more detailed work for them on legislation, lobbying and training before moving to my current role within NFUS.

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