TBAS Biosecurity Policy
Farm biosecurity is a management plan which reduces the risk of disease entering a farm or, if already present, reduces its spread within the farm. Infectious agents can be transmitted between animals in a variety of ways and can be spread by people, including veterinary surgeons, and veterinary equipment. As such any visits to farms pose a threat to biosecurity and it is of the utmost importance that we work with farmers to minimise this threat.
Anyone visiting a livestock premises for, or on behalf of, Farmcare Solutions must follow appropriate biosecurity measures. They need to be aware of the risk of spreading animal diseases from one premises to another. It is important to practise good biosecurity to:
• Limit the risk of introducing or carrying an infectious disease to or from farm animals. This includes infection that may be present but has not yet showed any sign of disease.
• Protect yourself from infectious diseases and to avoid infecting animals with an infection you may be carrying.
Farmcare Solutions recognises and accepts their responsibility to prevent as far as possible any risk of carrying contagious diseases on or off farmers’ premises. All staff members, or those working on behalf of Farmcare Solutions, must be fully aware of the risks of transmitting infectious disease between sites and they must do all that they can to reduce any risks involved.
Actions before arriving at farm
All staff must ensure that they are carrying all required personal protective equipment before visiting a farm premises.
This must include:
• Full outer layer of waterproof protective clothing which is clean and in good condition. A clean unused set must be taken to each separate farm premises
• Clean waterproof footwear that can be subjected to cleansing and disinfecting
• A suitable general disinfectant included on the DEFRA list of disinfectants approved for use in England, Scotland and Wales
• Equipment to measure and dilute the disinfectant and apply to clothing and footwear as per manufacturer’s instructions
Any equipment that will be taken on to farm (i.e. clipboards, notebooks etc) must be cleaned before being taken to farm. Vehicles must be kept clean and free of contamination paying particular attention to areas such as wheel arches.
Actions on arrival at farm
Vehicles should be parked away from animal areas and protective clothing put on and cleaned using approved disinfectant made up to the manufacturer’s instructions. Regardless of the fact that clean PPE is used for each visit, performing this step on arrival allows farmers to have confidence in the cleanliness of the advisor before they enter the farm. It also promotes best practice in farm biosecurity to animal keepers. Any additional measures required by the individual farm, such as use of their own protective clothing or use of foot dips, should be followed.
When moving between farm premises, even if part of the same holding, or when moving between groups of animals, PPE should be washed and disinfectant reapplied to prevent carrying infection between groups of animals. Youngstock or more vulnerable animals should be visited first where possible before contact with older animals.
Actions before leaving the farm
Gross contamination should be removed from all PPE before they are cleaned using disinfectant as per arrival on farm. Used PPE should be bagged ready for washing on return to base. Any equipment carried on to farm such as clipboards should be cleaned using disinfectant wipes. Hands should be washed before leaving the farm, where this is not possible hand sanitiser should be applied and hands washed at the first available opportunity. Footwear worn on farm must be removed before leaving the farm.
Eating and drinking
Advisors should not eat or drink while on farm and should refrain from smoking or from use of e-cigarettes or similar while on farm. Food or drink should not be consumed until hands have been thoroughly washed after contact with animals.
Information and guidance to farmers
Whilst visiting farm premises every opportunity should be taken to demonstrate best practice with regard to farm biosecurity. Advisors are encouraged to lead by example and to explain wherever possible to farmers the importance of biosecurity when there are visitors to the farm. Farmers should be signposted to further information on biosecurity available on the TB Hub or on the DEFRA website.
Suspicion of notifiable disease
Veterinary Advisors undertaking on-farm duties may find themselves the first attendant to any notifiable disease outbreak on that farm. Anyone in such a situation is under a legal requirement in the event of a suspected notifiable disease incursion to immediately contact APHA and inform them of the findings. At no time should an attending Veterinarian leave the premises in question and he or she must remain there, under guidance from APHA, until instructed otherwise. They must communicate to the keeper in a fashion outlining the seriousness of the situation but aiming to avoid undue panic at all times. It is imperative that no person present on the farm (or any vehicle) leaves the premises in question until an official investigation has been undertaken. Persons and vehicles should where possible be instructed not to enter the premises likewise.
Under direction from APHA, there will be an imposition of restricted zones (normally a 3 km protection zone and a 10 km surveillance zone) around premises where disease is confirmed. Restrictions would remain in force for a variable time depending on the incubation period of the disease in question.