African Swine Flu. Avian Influenza. These outbreaks have occurred in the past couple of years. Trade shows have even been canceled to prevent the spread of these diseases. Farm biosecurity is becoming more of an issue with the worldwide market of agricultural products. If you do not have an idea or plan in place for your operation, it may be time to start considering one.
Biosecurity procedures are meant to protect humans and animals against disease or harmful biological agents. The best method of stopping the introduction of diseases is prevention. The three main things to start with are cleanliness, contamination control, and education.
Cleanliness – Clean and disinfect all equipment used on animals frequently. Wear gloves and wash hands frequently when handling animals. Bedding and barn alleys need to be cleared frequently of manure. Vehicles coming onto the farm may need to be sprayed down with disinfectant if they are going near an area with animals. Make sure food sources are free from mold and not spoiled. If an animal appears sick, immediately remove them from the herd and isolate.
Contamination Control – Anything coming from the “outside world” onto your operation has the potential to carry pathogens. Keep transport vehicles away from feed and manure handling routes. Make guests wear shoe covers when entering the barn. Pest-proof your feed storage as best you can. Animals that are new to your operation should be kept in quarantine for a couple of weeks before joining the herd.
Education – The most powerful tool in your arsenal is education. Have training and meetings with employees often to keep procedures fresh in their mind. Review behavioral signs of a sick animal and what steps should be taken if an animal is ill. Give any guests visiting a brief overview of where they are allowed, and how they can or cannot interact with the animals. Keep records of visitors to your operation, and health records current for animals.
Start the conversation with your vet to see what measures can be adapted to your operation.
“Biosecurity Guidelines for Animal Industries.” University of Massachusetts Amherst
“Livestock Biosecurity” Extension.org