Basic Principles of Biosecurity

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Putting preventive measures in place to keep animals healthy has been a long-standing and successful practice on Canadian farms. These measures form a biosecurity plan. A biosecurity plan should address how you manage animal, vehicle and human access on the farm; animal health; and operations.

By following the principles below and working with a veterinarian you can play a significant role in keeping your animals and your industry as healthy as possible.

Access Management

Designate distinct zones

Establish distinct zones where varying levels of protection are needed. Define these zones with fences (or other features) and identify them with signs.

Control movements in and between designated zones

Control movements of people, animals, equipment and vehicles

  • into a designated zone,
  • out of a designated zone, and
  • between the designated zones.

This can be done through the use of controlled access points.

Animal Health Management

Manage animal movements

Plan animal introductions, their movement within the premises and their removal from the premises. This includes using management strategies such as:

  • permanently identifying all animals and keeping records for traceability,
  • testing animals before introduction,
  • following post arrival isolation procedures,
  • scheduling animal movements ahead of time, and
  • maximizing downtime in production areas between animal groups.

Practice animal identification and good record keeping. It is important to participate in traceability systems where available.

Observe animals for signs of disease

Ensure workers are knowledgeable and experienced in recognizing signs of disease. They should be able to do this by observing animals' production levels, behaviour, clinical signs, and feed and water consumption.

Establish response plans for potential disease situations

Contact a veterinarian if you see unusual rates of disease or death.

Work with your veterinarian to have a "disease response plan" in place for suspected cases of contagious or reportable diseases. A disease response plan should include:

  • triggers for the response plan (for example, numerous animals showing signs of disease, a significant decrease in production, a lack of response to routine treatments, unanticipated mortality rates),
  • details of whom to contact,
  • plans for limiting movements of animals, people or vehicles on or off the premises, and
  • other measures determined by you and your veterinarian.

Operational Management

Properly dispose of deadstock

Plan and control the disposal of carcasses according to municipal and provincial regulations. Carcasses should be disposed of in a timely manner.

Manage manure according to regulations

Plan and control manure management according to municipal and provincial regulations. Planning should include measures for collecting, storing, moving, and disposing of manure in ways that minimize the chance of spreading any disease organisms.

Keep the premises, buildings, equipment and vehicles clean

Buildings, equipment and vehicles should be cleaned regularly to prevent the introduction of disease and pests. Consider applying disinfectants when practical.

Maintain the facilities in a state of good repair

Maintain all facilities in a state of good repair so that your biosecurity plan can be effectively implemented.

This may include:

  • buildings and fences to prevent wildlife and people from entering the premises,
  • feed storage areas to prevent access by wildlife and vermin, and
  • laneways to allow for cleaning and disinfecting vehicles.

Obtain production inputs from a reliable source

Purchase production inputs such as feed and bedding from reliable sources. Ensure the water supply is free of contamination.

Control pests

Ensure a pest management program is in place to prevent the spread of disease.

Plan and train

Have a written biosecurity plan that is updated regularly. Ensure that employees receive proper training and training materials so they can continue to follow the plan.

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