Morebattle farmer in animal health push

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Morebattle farmer James Playfair-Hannay is one of a new committee set up to boost beef farmers’ knowledge of everyday health problems herds face.

The National Beef Association (NBA) has set up a special committee of vets, farmers and breed society representatives from around the UK to provide information “in plain English” about common health issues and their financial implications for farmers.

James, a well-known Aberdeen Angus and Beef Shorthorn pedigree breeder from Morebattle Tofts, was involved in his breeds’ health schemes and was invited to join the committee.

He said: “Healthy animals are happy animals and hopefully the owner is too because the animal is more productive. There is a need for the industry to embrace healthy livestock, and disease prevention is much better than cure.

“It’s a matter of trying to raise awareness within the industry and give the silent majority the confidence to say that disease is there and to do something about it rather than burying our heads in the sand.

“The UK did have the reputation of being the stockyard of the world, particularly for cattle and to a lesser degree, sheep. But now it seems to have a worldwide reputation as an unhealthy stock yard.”

He puts that down to BSE, FMD and more recently Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) as well as others. The committee will use social media to share the information and distribute user-friendly fact sheets from vets. Its first project is to post up-to-date information on BVD and Johne’s disease,