Canadian Beef Cattle On-Farm Biosecurity Standard
Principle 2: Manage the Movement of People, Vehicles, Equipment, and Tools

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Movements by people, vehicles, equipment and tools that have been in contact with manure, urine, blood, saliva, etc. from diseased animals (livestock and deadstock) can transmit disease when moving on, off and within a farm.

2.1. Apply sanitation practices that are relevant to personnel, visitors, vehicles, equipment and tools on entry to, within, and on exit from production areas

Why Is This Important?

People, vehicles, equipment and tools can all carry disease on, off or throughout a beef cattle operation. While some of these movements can be avoided or prevented, many are essential to the operation. Sanitation practices are necessary to reduce the opportunity for these movements to transmit disease.

Suggested Risk Management Practices

Some movements are clearly more likely to carry disease than others. To ensure that sanitation practices are relevant and can be seen to be of value in controlling disease, the practices suggested here involve a risk-based approach based on both the risk of the incoming items and the susceptibility of the areas being visited, e.g. the Production Area versus the Farmyard.

Practices appropriate to a specific operation will vary due to the type of operation, farm layout and traffic flows.

All producers should apply some general practices on an ongoing basis.

a. Identify and assess risk

Evaluate the risk of all visitors by asking about livestock / farm contact within the past 14 days (including their accompanying vehicles, equipment and tools).

  • Low / negligible risk: no livestock contact; one visit to a livestock operation.
  • Medium risk: livestock contact at one operation; or more than one visit to livestock operations.
  • High risk: livestock contact at more than one operation; or personnel handling the operation's sick or segregated animals, or persons from other countries reporting outbreaks of a reportable disease.

See Entry Requirements in Schedule 13 for additional information.

b. Persons from other countries

To evaluate the risk of persons from other countries, it is advisable to discuss specific details with your veterinarian, or the office of your Chief Provincial Veterinarian / Chief Provincial Veterinary Officer (see Schedule 7).

Remember to include staff or other personnel, including you, who are returning from another country.

Some issues to consider are contacts while outside Canada including:

  • Did they come into contact with livestock?
  • Do they have clothing or personal effects that have been in contact with a farm or livestock?
  • Are reportable or other major diseases a concern in the other countries?
  • When did they return to Canada (after being out of country)?

c. Before arrival at your farm

Before arrival, communicate biosecurity practices to all visitors and ensure that they:

  • understand what biosecurity practices are required and why they are necessary;
  • minimize their contact with livestock and/or other farms prior to the visit, and
  • leave their pets at home, or contained within their vehicle on arrival.

d. On arrival

On arrival, require that visitors:

  • record their visit in the Visitor Log;
  • put on separate clean clothing and footwear, or use disposable or clean clothing and footwear provided by the operation;
  • wash their hands with soap and water or use a hand sanitizer;
  • minimize their contact with livestock during the visit;
  • not access the segregation or sick pen areas, or have contact with those animals;
  • keep vehicles outside the Production Area when possible, including service and supply vehicles such as feed or fuel trucks and deadstock removal trucks.

e. On departure

On departure, ensure that:

  • visitors clean or dispose of their footwear and wash their hands after contact with livestock;
  • personnel wear clean clothing and their footwear is clean of manure; and
  • vehicles are clean of visible organic material, particularly manure.

f. Additional general pointers

The following points should be considered and followed where possible:

  • Designate separate parking for all vehicles that go off premises, including visitors, to minimize the degree to which manure is tracked off the premise.
  • Laneways and walkways are dry, accessible, and free of manure.
  • Have disposable or clean clothing and footwear available, in the event they are needed by visitors.

2.2. Minimize the use of the same equipment for both "clean" and "dirty" tasks

Why Is This Important?

Deadstock, including bodily fluids or secretions, manure and garbage, often carry disease. For this reason they are sometimes referred to as dirty and their related tasks as dirty tasks. Surfaces that come into contact with these items may have been exposed to disease and are considered dirty as well.

In contrast, feed, water and bedding that is either consumed by or in direct contact with cattle should be clean or free of disease. They are sometimes referred to as clean items, and their related tasks as clean tasks. Surfaces coming into contact with these items should be kept clean and free of disease.

Using dirty equipment for clean tasks, or for direct contact with livestock or humans, may expose cattle to disease and should be avoided. Events of this sort provide a chain of infection that can be a significant factor in the spread of most diseases, and have been identified as the initial cause of many major outbreaks.

The spread of FMD during the 2001 outbreak in the UK was significantly amplified by the use of dirty items for clean tasks. Dirty equipment and other items with FMD-contaminated surfaces coming into contact with clean equipment and/or animals was cited in several instances.

Suggested Risk Management Practices

Ideally specific pieces of equipment should be dedicated for dirty tasks only, such as handling deadstock, manure and garbage. They should never be used for clean tasks.

a. Identify and assess the risk

In many beef cattle operations equipment must be used for both clean and dirty tasks. Identify where these practices occur.

b. Break the chain of infection

Break the chain of infection that can occur in the situations where equipment is being used for both clean and dirty tasks, by using some of the following alternatives:

  • Ideally, find a means that avoids using the same equipment for both clean and dirty tasks, or
  • Have interchangeable units for different tasks. For example the tractor could have a bucket dedicated for moving manure or deadstock that is different from the one used for moving feed;
  • Prevent direct contact with the equipment surface, for example carrying deadstock suspended by a chain from the front end loader bucket that is normally used for feed;
  • Dry/wet clean and disinfect contact surfaces after use on dirty tasks; and/or
  • Perform clean tasks first before doing dirty tasks, to avoid creating a chain of contamination to healthy animals.

If wheels or other parts of machinery become dirty through direct contact with manure, they represent a risk. Clearly, this risk is greater when it is manure from the sick or segregation facilities. Producers should be aware of and manage this risk, by cleaning these items before entering feed or bedding areas.

Break the chain of infection: don't use dirty equipment for clean tasks!

2.3. Ensure production area perimeters are sufficient to contain livestock, with access points that can be closed to prevent access by people, other than deliberate non-compliance

Why Is This Important?

Keeping the operation's livestock separate and distinct from others and avoiding commingling with animals from neighbouring operations are important means of controlling disease.

Fences or other perimeters that keep the operation's livestock that are being managed differently separate and distinct and prevent commingling with animals from other operations helps to control disease. Animals from neighbouring operations may not be managed similarly and present a disease risk through:

  • lack of and/or improper vaccination;
  • contact with recently purchased animals of unknown health status;
  • exposure to contaminated people and equipment from infected farms.

Fences may also provide some control over contact with wildlife. Access points that can be closed may also limit access by personnel.

Fence-line perimeters or natural boundaries also mark the Production Area where your animals are or may be, and where you will want to focus your biosecurity practices. Access points through these fences signify the point at which enhanced or different biosecurity practices may be implemented if required.

Given the extensive nature of many operations in the Canadian beef cattle industry, it is difficult to control and prevent all unwanted access. However perimeters comprised of fences or natural barriers and access points that can be closed, together with signs (see 2.4), can help to prevent access by all but intentional acts of non-compliance.

Suggested Risk Management Practices

a. Identify and assess risk

Producers should use their farm layout diagram, to locate Production Areas and the Farmyard, together with the perimeters of each of these and access points.

b. Limit access points

Access points into and out of the Farmyard and Production Areas should be limited. This is helpful in controlling the flow of traffic. These are also the points at which biosecurity practices may be increased to address different risks as suggested in 2.1

c. Control access points with lockable gates

Access points to Production Areas and Farmyards should be capable of being closed and locked. This may be required for a number of reasons, including the possibility of a Reportable or Foreign Animal Disease, when access is being restricted.

Consider locking access points if they cannot be easily monitored. This is particularly important if these points provide access to cattle, feed, water or pesticides.

d. Maintain perimeter fences

Fences should be used to contain livestock at the perimeter of Production Areas, the areas where cattle are or may be. Fences should also be considered to mark the perimeter of Farmyards. Natural boundaries are an alternative.

Fences and other perimeter markings should be used to indicate the location of segregation and sick pens, or other locations where biosecurity practices need to be enhanced.

Fences should be maintained to assist in keeping cattle separate from other groups.

2.4. Post biosecurity signs at access points to production area and farmyard

Why Is This Important?

Signs can inform people of the biosecurity practised on your operation and in the Canadian beef cattle industry. If people are informed of the practices that are important to your operation, and why you do them, then they are more likely to cooperate and assist in maintaining the level of biosecurity you are trying to achieve.

Biosecurity signs can be used for a number of purposes that support biosecurity on your operation. For example, they can:

  • Direct visitors to the office or to a visitor parking area
  • Request that people contact the office before entry
  • Direct traffic flow
  • Indicate where biosecurity practices are in effect
  • Advise people on biosecurity procedures for entry and exit
  • Prohibit entry

Most importantly, signs communicate what you want people to do and why you want them to do so. Unless they know this information, there is no reason to expect them to assist you.

Suggested Risk Management Practices

a. Identify and assess risk

Producers should consider their farm layout diagram to determine all locations where signs should be posted. Additional signs may be effective at access points: from the farmyard to the production area, to feed yards; to segregation and/or sick facilities.

b. Consider the signs required

Signs should clearly indicate what you want people to do, and ideally why you want them to do so.

Signs should also reflect the different levels of biosecurity that may exist throughout your operation. For instance, biosecurity practices for the Production Area, where animals are or may be, are usually higher than in the Farmyard and the signs should reflect this.

Producers may obtain signs from their provincial governments or commodity associations (see Schedule 7).

c. Post signs

Signs should be posted so that they are visible to those entering through controlled access points to:

  • The Production Area, e.g. lanes, roadways, doors, gates, etc.; and
  • The Farmyard, e.g. lanes and roadways.

Producers may also want to post signs periodically along perimeter fencing that surrounds both the Production Area and the Farmyard, where they are visible to potential visitors.

2.5. Manage and dispose of deadstock and manure to minimize contact with live animals

Why Is This Important?

Cattle that die from disease may shed the disease in their bodily fluids (blood, lymph, etc.), secretions (respiratory etc.) and excretions (manure, and urine etc.). Therefore contact with deadstock, body fluids and secretions, or manure, may spread the disease back to live cattle. (Note: Throughout the remainder of Section 2.5, the term deadstock will include organic materials contaminated by body fluids and secretions.) As well, both deadstock and manure may be scavenged or fed upon by pests and wildlife, spreading the disease to a broader region and additional cattle.

Proper management and disposal of both deadstock and manure can help to control the spread of disease.

Suggested Risk Management Practices

a. Know your federal and provincial regulations

Producers should confirm that their deadstock and manure management practices comply with federal and provincial requirements, many of which have been made more restrictive in recent years (see websites for the Office of Chief Provincial Veterinarian / Chief Provincial Veterinary Officer).

Federal and provincial regulations regarding deadstock and manure address a range of issues that may differ from animal health and biosecurity. Accordingly, while compliance with regulations is advocated, additional practices are also suggested.

b. Avoid contact with live animals

To help avoid the direct or indirect spread of disease back to live animals, producers should consider the following practices to manage the disposal of deadstock and manure:

  • timely disposal (prompt for deadstock, regularly for manure)
  • minimize live animal contact
  • use equipment specific to this purpose, or clean and disinfect the equipment prior to other clean uses (see 2.2)
  • clean clothing and boots afterwards, and wash hands. Disinfect these items if an infectious disease is present.

Equipment used for deadstock and/or manure should be designated for this use only, or cleaned and disinfected prior to other uses. See 2.2 for additional information.

Producers should clean equipment, clothing, boots and hands after contact with deadstock or manure, and before engaging in other tasks or leaving the operation.

c. Find a suitable location

Storage locations for deadstock and/or manure should be located adjacent but outside the Production Area, where they cannot be contacted by live animals. Separation of 100 m or more from storage to live animals is required in some provinces. The distance from watercourses, wells and other sensitive areas is also regulated federally and provincially and must be respected.

Producers should consider their farm layout diagrams to identify a location that minimizes the risk of contact. Where possible, construct storage locations so they can be accessed from within the Production Area and from outside.

d. Document your practices

Producers should document their practices to promote a consistent approach or approaches to managing deadstock and manure.

A sample "Deadstock Disposal Plan" and "Manure Management Plan" are provided in Schedules 8 and 9. These should form a part of the operation's Biosecurity Plan.

Specific Deadstock Management practices:

a. Identify and assess risk

Deadstock disposal is regulated in most provinces and producers should confirm that their removal and disposal requirements comply with federal and provincial requirements (see Schedule 8).

b. Timeframes for Removal and Disposal

Deadstock should be removed promptly to prevent contact with other animals. This also applies to aborted foetuses and placentas – they should be managed as deadstock and not included with manure.

Deadstock should be disposed of as soon as possible. A target of 12-24 hours is desirable, and up to 48 hours is generally acceptable.

c. Disposal methods

Some provinces permit deadstock to be stored for longer periods under certain conditions, or if directed to do so by an inspector appointed under federal or provincial health authority.

Producers should verify which of the following disposal methods are permitted in their province, and the requirements for each:

  • Burial, typically has regulatory requirements regarding the number, the pit and its cover, use of quicklime, and distance from roadways, water and water table, livestock facilities, residences;
  • Incineration, typically has regulatory requirements (air quality) for small incinerators;
  • Rendering, typically has regulatory requirements for storage pending pickup;
  • Composting, typically has regulatory requirements for bin, windrow or open systems;
  • Natural disposal, typically has regulatory requirements for the number of deadstock and location of disposal.

Deadstock should always be disposed of, or stored, in a manner that minimizes or prevents contact with live animals.

Natural Disposal is not permitted in some provinces.

Producers should confirm that their disposal methods comply with regulated requirements.

d. Specified Risk Material

Producers should also be aware of the regulations for handling Specified Risk Material (SRM) for the off-farm movement of deadstock. Specified Risk Material (those tissues identified as being capable of transmitting BSE, including carcasses containing those materials) are regulated for movement off farm by a permitting process through the CFIA.

e. Additional pointers

Producers should consider obtaining a necropsy by a veterinarian on all deadstock. This may help to diagnose the presence of a disease or health issue, and to manage and minimize its spread.

Note: Animals euthanized by a veterinarian must be properly disposed of: incineration or burial is required in some provinces.

Specific Manure Management practices:

a. Identify and assess risk

Manure management is regulated in most provinces. Producers should confirm that their practices are in accordance with federal and provincial regulations regarding environmental farm plans, manure management plans, etc. (see Schedule 9).

b. Manure removal

Producers should remove all manure regularly from:

  • pens, corrals and barns
  • areas near waterers and feedbunks
  • within waterers and feedbunks and immediately when observed
  • the Production Area
  • segregation and isolation pens and immediately after use by infectious animals and/or before the next group.

c. Additional pointers

Additional practices, which may not be permitted in some provinces, include:

Remove manure annually, generally in the spring, or after each turn or group of animals.

Store accumulated manure outside the Production Area, and prevent or minimize contact by live animals.

Contain run-off from manure storage areas, to prevent it from reaching water sources or ground water.

Manage the potential disease risk that may be present by composting; and/or weathering (drying and exposure to sunlight through spreading).

Manure should be spread early in the year for maximum drying and sunlight, on cropland rather than pasture, broken up after spreading, and left for a full growing season prior to being grazed.

Clean-out manure from off-farm trucks should be stored and maintained separately from on-farm manure. This should not be spread or sold until fully composted or weathered and decomposed.

Always check to ensure that your manure management practices comply with federal and provincial regulations.

Note: provincial regulations may address issues other than animal health.

2.6. Minimize pests to reduce exposure to livestock to the extent practical

Why Is This Important?

Pests may transmit a number of diseases to cattle through direct or indirect exposure including infected blood and other secretions by biting insects, through respiratory secretions and fecal contamination of infected pests, and external contamination of pests on feet/fur/feathers etc.

Some of these diseases can cause significant illness in cattle and the herd, and impact the industry regionally or nationally. Examples include Anaplasmosis, which is spread by ticks, and Bluetongue, which is spread by a midge or fly.

Suggested Risk Management Practices

Given the extensive nature of most beef operations, it can be difficult to prevent pests. However some of the following practices may help to control pest populations and in turn manage the risk of disease that they present.

a. Identify and assess risk

Where pests exist, producers should consult their veterinarian to determine if there are disease risks and how these might be managed.

Personnel should be aware of the disease risks that may arise from pest populations in their region, and monitor the herd for signs of disease.

b. Insect population control

Remove breeding areas for insects, where appropriate, e.g. standing water, decaying manure/bedding/feed, from the vicinity of feed storage areas, bunks and fences, and vegetation or weeds particularly from the vicinity of handling facilities.

Apply chemical controls for internal and external parasites, such as ear tags, sprays, pour-ons and oilers.

c. Rodent and bird population control

  • Inspect hay, other feed storage areas and buildings regularly for evidence that they are being used for nesting.
  • Remove breeding or nesting sites, and monitor for reappearance, e.g.:
    • Use bait and traps near nesting and feeding areas;
    • Put a ceiling of netting under rafters, to reduce nesting by birds; and
  • Eliminate openings in buildings to prevent their entry, particularly to feed storage areas, e.g.:
    • Hang heavy plastic strips in doorways to keep birds out.
  • Position items off the ground to eliminate hiding places and facilitate inspection, baiting / trapping, particularly for feeders, equipment, feed bags and granaries.
  • Trim vegetation and weeds near buildings and handling facilities.
  • Alternate feeding times and locations (where possible) to disrupt patterns to which birds and other pests become accustomed.

d. Pest population control

  • Remove potential sources of food for pests.
  • Store animal feed in sealed metal containers.
  • Remove loose feed from the vicinity of storage or feeding facilities.
  • Remove deadstock from the area of live cattle immediately.
  • Remove manure regularly and store away from live cattle.
  • Keep garbage in sealed metal containers, and remove regularly.

2.7. Manage livestock to reduce exposure to wildlife to the extent practical

Why Is This Important?

Wildlife may harbour disease that can be spread to cattle through direct and/or indirect exposure. While the disease may be apparent in wildlife, they may also be latent carriers of disease that may affect cattle.

Some of these diseases may cause significant illness in cattle and the herd, and seriously impact the industry as a whole. For example, bovine Tuberculosis and Brucellosis reside in wildlife and may be spread to cattle through shared winter-feeding or other events. Other diseases carried by wildlife that may be spread to cattle include rabies and neospora.

Suggested Risk Management Practices

a. Identify and assess the risk

Preventing exposure to wildlife is not always possible, particularly in pastures. Where this is the case, producers should be aware of the disease risk that these populations present, and take appropriate steps to minimize it.

Consult your veterinarian or provincial Office of the Chief Veterinarian / Chief Veterinary Officer to determine the specific disease risks that may exist in wildlife in your particular area. Such diseases could include: bTB and/or Brucellosis in deer or elk, rabies in skunks, coyotes or wolves, and Neospora in dogs, coyotes or wolves. They may also have advice on effective biosecurity practices to address these risks, e.g. vaccines, etc.

b. Minimize the risk

Steps that may minimize the disease risk posed by wildlife include:

  • Awareness of the disease risk in question: ensure personnel know the signs of disease in order to recognize it.
  • Additional monitoring: observe cattle frequently for signs.
  • Preventive measures: opportunities to reduce exposure and/or raise immunity, e.g.:
    • double fencing around feed storage, or
    • vaccination

2.8. Ensure facilities are maintained and clean

Why Is This Important?

The condition of facilities may reduce or restrict the application of biosecurity practices to effectively address disease risks. If their condition affects the ability to apply biosecurity practices, then facilities should be repaired to facilitate biosecurity or managed to mitigate the biosecurity risks.

Facilities that are not clean may also contribute to the spread of disease. Many pathogens can survive for weeks to months, protected from inactivation through desiccation, sunlight, and inadequate cleaning procedures by organic material (bedding, manure etc.). For example, a persistent transfer may arise from facilities that are repeatedly used to house or process cattle some of which are diseased.

Suggested Risk Management Practices

a. Identify and assess risk

Specific areas to be kept clean to avoid contamination and opportunities for cross infection include areas where cattle congregate (particularly highly susceptible animals) and areas where supplies / inputs are stored: calving areas; pens and corrals; feeding areas; feed storage area; water sources and waterers; veterinary product storage area; storage areas for veterinary waste and used products; garbage storage areas.

b. Maintain facilities

Facilities should be clean and free of visible organic matter. Focus on production areas where above-normal rates of illness have occurred, calving areas, and locations frequently accessed by staff or livestock.

Facilities should be maintained, in good working order. This helps good husbandry, and also helps to minimize animal stress.

c. Remove garbage and other waste

Garbage and other waste should be removed and disposed of on a regular basis in accordance with local requirements.

d. Storage and disposal of sharps

Veterinary waste involving sharps and other receptacles should be stored in a container separate from garbage and closed to the environment and animals. It can be removed and disposed of at specific locations within each province, including your veterinary clinic (if previous arrangements have been made with them).

See also Target Outcomes 2.5, 2.6, and 3.3.

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