SureFarm Ltd has today launched the UK’s first government approved private health scheme for the voluntary surveillance of bovine TB (bTB) for the camelid industry.
SureFarm Camelid Diagnostics is a voluntary system for farmers and has been developed over the last two years in conjunction with DEFRA, AHVLA (Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency) and representative groups of the camelid industry including the British Alpaca Society and British Camelid Society. Minette Batters, Deputy President, NFU attended the Camelid Diagnostics launch.
The scheme uses a new serological blood test providing far greater accuracy than the current skin test known to be imprecise in camelids. Camelid Diagnostics will maintain the integrity and security of the British camelid industry and increase commercial opportunities for its members including the export of stock to Europe. By having animals accurately tested the scheme will clarify the herd or individual animal’s infection status in relation to bovine TB at the time of testing.
Andy Adler, BVM&S MBA MRCVS, Director, SureFarm Ltd, says, “SureFarm Camelid Diagnostics is a prime example of innovative and progressive veterinarians, working closely with their farming clients to provide a ground breaking science-based solution to the problem of Bovine Tuberculosis on farm”.
SureFarm Ltd, a subsidiary of Synergy Farm Health Ltd, works in collaboration with SureTest Ltd and Enfer Laboratories to provide the serological Enferplex Test. The ground breaking serological test only requires a single blood sample to be taken for testing from Camelids. The test is also available for bovine TB in the wider farming, zoological and pet industries, however this is still at the research phase of development. The scheme also uses a statistical assessment to aid determination of herd infection status, pioneered by SureFarm’s expert Alastair Hayton and which has been approved by DEFRA.
The Camelid Diagnostics scheme will enable herd level testing to confirm freedom from infection, testing of individual stock before movement or purchase and pre-export testing.
Peter Roissetter, British Alpaca Society explains, “We have been working with British Llama Society and Camelid Vets for over two years to try to find the most accurate bTB test and ensure its availability to our members. We are very pleased that Government has approved this ground breaking voluntary scheme launched by SureFarm. The BAS is optimistic that Government will soon finalise a realistic compensation package and the protocols for use in a confirmed bTB breakdown, which will complete the overall approach we take in combating this disease.”
Claire Whitehead, President, British Camelid Veterinary Society, says, “SureFarm Camelid Diagnostics is an example of how camelid breeders are helping themselves. Bovine TB is not prevalent in camelids but the introduction of this new serological blood test will take away the uncertainty of the skin test and provide an opportunity for owners to verify the health of their herds.”