Biosecurity standards launched for sheep, goat farms

April 01, 2013

Biosecurity standards launched for sheep, goat farms
Biosecurity standards launched for sheep, goat farms

Voluntary made-in-Canada standards, compiling best-management practices needed for farm-level biosecurity, have been rolled out for use on Canadian sheep and goat operations, with the stated aim of sharpening a competitive edge.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency on Wednesday and Thursday launched the new national standards for goat and sheep farms respectively, laying out specific practices each sector can follow to set up or improve existing farm-level biosecurity and prevent or cut the risk of on-farm disease transmission.

“Goat producers can use the standard to enhance their disease prevention methods and this will benefit their business and the overall industry,” federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said Wednesday, noting the goat standard “was developed with industry, for industry, to improve animal health on-farm.”

The sheep standard, he said Thursday, is expected to help farmers create “a biosecurity plan that meets the specific needs of their operation” to protect animal health and support “the continued delivery of high-quality products.”

The full texts of both standards were not immediately available online Thursday.

The goat standard breaks down into six “key areas” of best-management practices (BMPs) to cut the risk of disease transmission, including sourcing and introducing animals; animal health; facility management; movement of people, vehicles and equipment; monitoring and record keeping; and communications and training.

The goat standard, CFIA said, was developed over two years in partnership with the Canadian National Goat Federation (CNGF), working with producers, academia and provincial governments.

“The implementation of on-farm biosecurity is a cornerstone to managing the risk of animal disease in Canadian goat herds,” CNGF president Myrna Coombs, a meat goat breeder at Onoway, Alta., said in CFIA’s release. “Keeping our herds disease-free is an important part of ensuring our producers are profitable and competitive.”

The sheep standard organizes its BMPs into four areas: animal health management practices; record-keeping; the farm and its facilities and equipment; and “people.”

“This voluntary standard will provide the industry with valuable tools that will contribute to the health of the Canadian flock and help to ensure its long-term viability and sustainability,” said Andrew Gordanier, a Shelburne, Ont. sheep producer and chairman of the Canadian Sheep Federation.

In both cases, CFIA said, the standards were “designed specifically for the Canadian… industry, and (are) applicable to farm operations of all types and sizes.”

The voluntary standard, the agency said, “offers goals, objectives and measurable targets for all producers from small-scale to large-scale establishments.”

CFIA and industry groups have already set up voluntary biosecurity standards also for dairy farms, beef cattle operations, avian operations and hog farms. A standard for grain and oilseed farms was released earlier this month.

A similar standard for the bee industry — including bumblebees, leafcutters and honey bees — has been in development since late 2010 and was expected to be released last year.

In all cases, CFIA has said in its biosecurity standard planning guide, “access to premium markets will increasingly depend on our ability to demonstrate freedom from serious animal diseases and pests.”

Biosecurity, CFIA said, “will play an increasing role in meeting processor requirements, in quality assurance programs, and in retaining market access and competitiveness.”

The trend is growing, the agency said, “to ensure health certification as an indicator of quality assurance and biosecurity in purchasing and moving live animals.”

Diseases and pests which could otherwise be controlled or limited through a biosecurity regime “can reduce productivity, affect farm incomes and animal welfare, increase veterinary and labour costs, reduce the value of farmland, close export markets, affect domestic consumption, and reduce prices that producers receive for their animals and products,” the agency said.

As well, CFIA said, the risks may include “negative effects on the environment and human health.” Source Agri Newspk Blogspot

Published: Zarai Media Team

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