NBA tackles cattle diseases in plain English

A campaign has been launched by the National Beef Association (NBA) to educate beef farmers about the everyday health problems that face their herds.

The NBA have established a standalone committee, The Animal Health Committee which brings together vets, farmers and breed societies from around the UK to provide information in plain English about common health issues and their financial implications for farmers.

Through this committee, the NBA aims to reach as wide an audience as possible to help farmers spot and tackle diseases. They will use social media feeds on Twitter and Facebook to share the information and user-friendly fact sheets will be produced by vets.

Charlie Maclaren, a sustainable agriculture analyst from Dumfries and NBA board member, has been appointed to chair the new committee.

He said: “The Animal Health Committee is all about meeting a need for clear, understandable information that farmers simply don’t have access to at the moment.

“We are using routes such as social media to get this out to people an easily-understandable, digestible form. It is important that farmers know how to spot diseases and parasites in their cattle and what these are likely to do to their bottom line.”

The committee’s first project will be to share up to date information on Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) and Johnes’s disease over the autumn and winter months, kicking off with a weekly Twitter campaign.

In the spring, committee members will be organising a series of roadshows in partnership with Merial, focusing on liver fluke in cattle.

In the longer term, the committee is aiming to work with the various bovine health schemes towards standardising testing, heath checks and disease control around the UK.

Mr Maclaren said: “By raising the profile of these problems, we hope to give farmers the information to speak to their vets with greater understanding, and provide them with the knowledge of how to protect their herds.

“We also want NBA members to get in touch to tell us which health issues they would like further information on.”

In addition to Mr Maclaren, the committee includes three vets, two farmers and a representative from the breed societies, who were all selected for their interest in improving the health of the national herd.

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