In a major policy announcement, The British Limousin Cattle Society has outlined its plans to invest £100,000 in the introduction of a progressive breed Herd Health Assurance initiative.

The initiative, which will be open to all 2,500 members of the BLCS, will play a central part in the Society’s ongoing technical drive to provide cattle that combine the highest visual and genetic quality with an assured high health status.

Announcing the plans, BLCS Chairman, Aled Edwards said: “This is an exciting step forward for the Society. The initiative is a responsible, long term commitment to herd health that is introduced with welcome scientific backing. In today’s industry the emphasis is very much on quality, efficiency and costs of production. We will continue to meet the demands of the market place and this is a logical further step forward to positively provide our customer base with health assured cattle, both male and female.”

Financial support will be made available, initially over a four year period, to both those members who are already making an investment in herd health assurance and as a means of positive encouragement to those considering their herds’ involvement. Participating members will receive monies through the practical option of a ‘cash-back’ scheme based on the number of individual herd registrations per annum lodged with the Society. To be eligible, herds will have to be demonstrably within, and adhering to the terms of, a Cattle Health Certification Standards, or CHeCS, approved animal health scheme. CHeCS is a self-regulatory body for Cattle Health Schemes in the UK and licence holders include Premium Cattle Health Scheme, HI Health and Herdcare. Commenting, CHeCS Executive Director Tim Brigstocke warmly welcomed the BLCS plans, he said: “This is an excellent long term investment in herd health by a major breed society that will be welcomed by Government and the whole of the food chain.”

The BLCS initiative will be administered by the Society with monies paid back to the value of £25,000 retrospectively at the end of each year.

BLCS Chief Executive, Iain Kerr, said that the initiative was ground breaking for the Society and was again ‘taking the lead’ to meet the industry challenges ahead. “With the introduction of the Single Farm Payment, the BLCS believes that assured high health status is an essential criteria to sell breeding and prime stock into premium markets and to be in a position to fully exploit all new opportunities,” he said.

In August of last year, the Society held an Elite Sale within its World Congress that carried high health status entry conditions. This principle was well received by vendors and purchasers alike and its success contributed to the Society’s determination to pursue long term positive herd health policies.