Voluntary livestock health care programmes – example of Naseva in Finland

Finland is free from the major infectious cattle diseases like enzootic leukosis, brucellosis, bovine tuberculosis and infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR). The prevalence of infections like salmonella, EHEC, BVD, trichophytosis, paratuberculosis etc. is also very low.

In addition to legal requirements, Finland has a widely used voluntary e-register, Naseva, to monitor healthcare on cattle farms. The developing project was a joint operation of farmers, meat and milk industry, veterinarians, advisors, research institutes and authorities.

The system ensures that all member farms have healthcare contracts with a veterinarian. The contract includes regular visits to the farm. In the contract, the farmer authorizes the access of the veterinarian to farm data. Information collected in the register includes a Health Care Contract and a Management Plan including health status and production data of the herd. Among other things, the farm is obliged to systematically monitor the yield and animal health. All drugs and treatments administered to the animals may also be recorded in the Naseva register. The Management Plan must be renewed by the veterinarian once a year in connection with a farm visit.

This kind of approach allows farmers to engage, on a voluntary basis, in a process that will lead to a better situation on the farm in terms of animal health and welfare and consequently reduce the need for antibiotics use.

The address of the register is www.naseva.fi