Monday, April 19, 2010

Biosecurity - camelids

The BAS (British Alpaca Society) is well aware after a series of 'TB Awareness' roadshows that when TB hits an alpaca herd, it is more than capable of inter herd spread. The society recently issued Bio security guidelines to all its members. These included the following advice which was designed to minimise contact with other alpacas:

* Herd pens should be separated three metres apart, if possible, with animals penned by county. If the Show Organiser deems it necessary, animals that have been bTB tested should be penned together and kept separate from those herds that have not been tested.

* There should be no collecting ring; the alpacas should enter and exit the show ring via single one-way circular routes.

* The show ring should be as large as possible to allow for the maximum separation of show animals.

* There should be no fans of any type for reasons of bio security and electrical safety

* Alpacas should only be permitted to leave their designated pens to enter the show ring for judging or exiting the showground. There should be no 'airing of the fleece' in outside areas.

Hard on the heels of this most sensible list, came an alpaca show in the SW, from where this pic was snapped. Pens 3m apart to prevent inter herd contact? No fans?
(see later Contributor Update for more on this)

We have given alpacas a considerable airing on this site, as unfortunately for them, they are particularly susceptible to tuberculosis. They also have the ability to become infectious very quickly, to spread the disease between themselves and the potential to transmit to TB to their owners or other mammals.

Unfortunately, even squeezed down to practically zero, the intradermal skin test is not a good indicator of TB exposure in alpacas, and Defra have recently pulled the financial rug on one promising supplementary blood test. The reason given for this was 'lack of funding'. But the cynical amongst us would point out that the "don't look, won't find" culture thrives in the upper echelons of Defra. Particularly as we understand that the BAS has offered to underwrite the costs of validating blood tests on behalf of their members. In a different pot, and slightly off topic, Defra are sitting on £420 million (yes that is correct - lots of noughts) underspend after over estimating take up on some Environmental schemes, and last week's national media reported the department spent (sorry - no link) £7000 per week (£3.5 million in the year) moving furniture around its many departments.

We do not overestimate the importance of clearing reservoirs of TB - wherever they may be. That is the ethos of the site. So to see irresponsibility on the part of some camelid owners is - disappointing. Particularly as from a very small section of owners who have banded together to form a TB support group, come the news of 144 confirmed alpaca deaths from TB during 2009. The group now report a doubling of TB incidence to 68 in the first three months of 2010.

We look forward to seeing these figures accurately reflected on Defra's 'Other species' TB stats, in due course.

This picture is of an alpaca trachea, heavily infected with open TB lesions right up to his throat. He had passed a couple of skin tests.

When questioned about infectivity of this animal: "would he have been infectious when he coughed or spat?" .....

... veterinary advice was that he was "grossly infectious" with every breath he exhaled.

And with no outward symptoms of disease, and having passed skin tests, this animal could have been amongst those in the pens, pictured above.
Right next to other groups - no 3m gap - and with his exhaled air having the benefit of electronic spread.

There are times when words really do fail us.


We have had contact from several alpaca owners who attended the SW show. These are some of their comments on the biosecurity arrangements in evidence.
One breeder was 'interested to see how the new organiser would implement the BAS biosecurity guidelines', and being a BAS supported show, had expected to see efforts made to protect alpacas from disease.
What a disgrace. Just about every guideline was breached.
* There was nowhere near 3m between pens.
* Most pens had fans running, some as many as 3 fans per pen.
* There was a holding area, and alpacas were nose to nose.
* People were walking their alpacas around airing them outside...
* and allowing them to kiss noses with other alpacas.

This comment noted that there was 'a disinfectant pad to walk over'. That was the only measure he could see. And this breeder concluded that it would be unwise to bring his animals to a show.

A second breeder was equally unimpressed, commenting that on his arrival:
* We saw people walking their alpacas outside.
* We could have walked in without being challenged..
* and there were no disinfectant footbaths or pads at the front of the building.
* There was nobody to ensure that animals were walked over pads either on their way to the show ring.
*Animals were kept separated by one pen in the showhalls but this would be ineffective as they were in close proximity to each other in other areas..
The comment continued on the use of fans:
We were shocked at just how many fans there were. We counted at least 11 before we gave up and there were only 23 breeders in attendance; we have made a note of exactly who was using fans.

This writer of this communication questioned whether the organisers of this show had received the BAS Guidelines. And he ended with the comment on this apparent lack of biosecurity awareness:
This is particularly horrifying as it was the South West Show and we all are now aware that this is the area of the country at greatest risk from TB"


Anonymous said...

Both pens of animals in the photo were from the same herd. All herds were separated at the show.

Matthew said...

Anon 12.07

But not separated enough according to several breeders who attended this show. See our update for their comments. We have other photos showing obvious breaches of these BAS guidelines, but would hesitate to post, as they identify alpaca owners.

Anonymous said...

Can you point me to the corresponding rules/guidelines for other livestock species please ?

Anonymous said...

Nevertheless, since all pens identified the herd to which the alpacas belonged, I can't help but wonder at the motive of the photographer in getting a misleading picture onto your blog.

Anonymous said...

How was the photo misleading. the rules said no fans the photo shows fans. In my opinion the photo was taken by someone who cares about the industry - unlike the people who arranged this show.

Matthew said...

Anon 5.43
Try :
This link gives basic biosecurity advice for all diseases in all species, including poultry.

With particular reference to TB, which is what this site is concerned with, if cattle are coming from annual or two year TB testing parishes (which is everywhere west of a line from Derbyshire to Dorset), all cattle have to be pre-movement tested before attending a show or market.
That is using the skin test - which on cattle is as good as it gets. Universally approved as the primary test and in the high 90% of specificity and sensitivety. We are sorry for the camelid industry that it is so poor on alpacas and llamas - even at severe or zero interpretation. "A positive is definitely a positive, but a negative cannot be taken at face value at all" we were told by a camelid vet.

Anon 6.06.
The update comments pointed out that pens were left between animals from different herds, but didn't think it was a wide enough gap. The use of multiple fans would, in our opinion, negate biosecurity offered by any but the widest gap.

M.bovis (the bacteria which causes TB) is heavy and usually is not airborne (unlike FMD). However put a propellant spit/ cough aerosol + fan behind it, and that is a very different matter.

There is no 'motive' on this site, except the eradication of tuberculosis - before even more victims are claimed.

Anon 6.29.
Fans moving and mixing exhaled air between animals from multiple locations is a seriously bad idea in the context of TB transmission. From what we understand, many of the primary TB lesions in alpacas have been in the respiratory system.

Anonymous said...

Does it need to be explained? .... rules are rules, guidelines are exactly that guidelines for guidance. Not a rule, not a law just a few helpful pointers which can be implemented if the show organiser see the need.

Anonymous said...

There are no rules that say no fans (only guidelines). Veterinary advice has been that the use of fans can be preferable - particularly in hot weather - for animal health reasons.

The people who arranged the show care far more for the industry than those who cannot see the value in judging animals side-by-side.

Application of the cattle showing rules to alpacas would presumably mean no showing of animals from 12/24 month parishes, as a negative test is so meaningless.

Matthew said...

Anon 7.47

Quite true. As cattle farmers, we do have the benefit of statute to protect our animals and thus other mammals from possible TB transmission. These supports AHO policy. Statute only applies to bovine species and farmed deer.

Defra may say they have a 'policy' for camelids, but they have no statute with which to enforce it, thus it is up to the owners and breeders of these delightful animals to offer them their own protection from Tuberculosis transmission opportunities.

Whether they choose to do this, is at the moment, voluntary in England. Wales we understand, has made moves to include camelids in its testing / TB eradication plans.

But the pictures we have shown of alpaca postmortems and the spiralling losses (from almost zero four years ago) ought to concentrate a few minds ?

Matthew said...

Anon 8.05.

Using 'guidelines' rather depends on how much you 'value' your animals.
A dead alpaca is a dead alpaca.
Your choice.

Anonymous said...

How many alpacas have contracted TB at shows ?

What evidence is there that alpacas are "particularly susceptible" to TB ?

Anonymous said...

It is a shame that alpacas (and their owners) were seen walking around the disinfection mats.

Alpacas need to be taught to walk on a wet spongy mat and not dragged over it or allowed to jump it.

Still, at least you could say they were there.

Anonymous said...

Don't hide behind the words guidelines - the organizer of this show must have been to the recent BAS TB meetings. If you show under the BAS banner then have the decency to abide by the guidelines for the sake of the industry and those that attend the shows. Note I used the word guidelines.

Anonymous said...

In answer to the post What evidence is there alpacas are susceptible to Tb:
obvioulsy this post was from somoene who either doesn't own alpacas nor reads this blog nor attended the recent tb meetings. Short answer tons - I have lost 37 out of 52 of my herd in 6 months
is that susceptible enough for you

Anonymous said...

I also attended this show and was very dissapointed they hadn't followed the guidelines.
I was considering showing this year but only if strict bio measures were in place. This showed me the breeders ar not taking Tb seriously. I for one are not happy

Anonymous said...

In reply to Matthews post - I agree and I value my alpacas above guidelines - pity show organisers don't do the same. I won't show this year nor next year until a reliable test is available.
Bravo to the decent alpaca owner who sent the photo. Well done

Anonymous said...

Its a shame this is not a true account of the show.

Anonymous said...

To Anon at 8:57 :
Please read the post to which you are responding. The question asked for evidence about particular susceptibility. A useful answer would be how many alpacas, as a proportion of a regional or the national herd, compared to the proportion of cattle in the same area. It's a genuine question, to which I don't know the answer.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, last post should refer to Anon at 9:17.

Anonymous said...

The camera never lies. The photo says it all. I am looking forward to seeing a reply from Di Summers who runs the TB support group and of which I am sadly a member of.. She has been wonderful - couldn't have got through it without her.I bought it in - only owning them for 5 weeks. My life is ruined - so don't talk to me about rules and regs. I am affronted by some of the comments

Anonymous said...

I am also a member of the tb support group. I spent my life savings buying alpacas and lost 21 of my 43 herd in 4 months. Don't talk to me about rules and Don't threaten me nor di or Gina as you have done in the past. The few who bully ruin it for us all. Di always says the bad ones tar the good ones with the same brush. the good breeders out there of which there are many are falling foul of the bad

Matthew said...

Anon 8.33 asked how many alpacas have contracted TB at shows.

At least one herd owner is convinced his stud males are dead because of exposure at a show.
A mating encounter was recently written up in the Veterinary Record which tracked alpacas from one county, arriving at stud in another and subsequently dying from the spoligotype associated with a third. The TB strain was indigenous to the area of the the female from the third county who had expired at the stud. Fortunately the TB spoligotype was on VLA database, as was this consigning farm's other death(s).

And therein is the problem. The numbers of alpaca deaths reported officially on Defra stats are a) lagging nearly 6 months behind the event and b) only form part of the data as they only record cultures taken for strain typing.

Such is the pressure on resources that after a couple of confirmed casualties in one herd, repeat cultures are deemed a waste, and not submitted. So this data and consequently deaths, do not appear.

This crazy situation has now been updated we understand, and not before time. It doesn't happen with cattle as the identification system of passports ensures numbers are fairly accurate.

To give an idea of the discrepancy in figures, last autumn Defra stats were showing 68 deaths confirmed with 120 cultures pending. But owners who replied to a veterinary 24 hour alert request for TB deaths in their animals reported over 200.

TB is a relatively new disease for alpaca owners to contend with. Do not underestimate its ability to spread through herds and onwards.
Unlike cattle, alpaca lesions are loaded with bacteria and it takes very little to provoke infection in another animal.

Whether camelids contract TB from badgers, or from another alpaca is a moot point. Once one alpaca (or llama) is infected, it would seem that many others will follow. Whether that is due to the level of bacteria present in open lesions or camelid habits of spitting and the close groupings of companions, or a combination we don't know.

We are aware however of several herds (puntas) who have lost multiple animals to TB in a short period of time. Many having shown no symptoms at all and having passed skin tests.

It isn't the contributors to this site who say this species is 'susceptible' to TB. It is written up in veterinary journals and camelid vets confirm.

As regards stats on TB casualties, this is difficult for the reasons given above. And not least because alpacas have no database. How many are there? 30,000 was a figure we've heard. Is it correct? If it is then veterinary figures of around 200 deaths last year (2009) is around 6.67% incidence.

Over the same period, 36,322 cattle were slaughtered in GB out of a national herd of around 9.3 million which is 0.39 % incidence.

Anon 9.33

We didn't report the show. We weren't present. We posted contributer's concerns about the risk of TB transmission following what they saw as bio security ommissions - or TB tranmission opportunities..
We agree the BAS 'guidelines' are stringent and will need quite a lot of re organisation to comply. And as we said before, it's your industry - your choice.

Tuberculosis doesn't take prisoners. It kills alpacas in a particulary nasty and highly infectious way, and fast.

And any mammal, especially owners and herd mates, up close and personal in contact with them, are at risk.

Anonymous said...

At least get your simple arithmetic right if you are going to bandy figures. 200 out of 30,000is 0.667%, NOT your eyewatering and scaremongering 6.67%. This compares very much more favourably with the cattle figure, at least not the 17 times cattle incidence you wrongly state. I think this is the main problem for Alpacas - innacuracies and mass hysteria caused by it - it sadly goes back way beyond this website and the comments thereon.

Anonymous said...

It is unfortunate that the BAS guidelines were only issued a few days before the show - and without any consultation with the organisers of the first show to be held after their issue. Perhaps the show should have been cancelled.

Matthew said...

Anon 7.53

Absolutely correct. Decimal point in the wrong place. Bad eyesight?
Old age? Apologies.

But don't lose sight of the core problem with tuberculosis in camelids. When they do contract this disease, they become infectious very quickly. Cattle do not. Badgers are hugely infectious, but an ideal host for this disease, as TB doesn't kill them straight away.

When TB is found in a single camelid, herd mates are usually quick to follow. Which is probably why incidence in the population is double that of GB cattle from a standing start only 3 or 4 years ago. (That's assuming the 30,000 is correct - difficult to say as there is no database. Cattle are logged onto BCMS computer from birth and TB death figures are also fairly solid. To be really pedantic, Defra's 'other species' stats page is still showing 68 confirmed alpaca casualties, not the veterinary communication of 200+ in 2009)

That alpacas have reached almost whole herd depopulations (as some comments have pointed out) within such a short space of time gives a measure of the seriousness of this disease progression in camelids. Sometimes the spoligotype indicates infection brought in and spread, sometimes 'environmental' as in the strain indigenous to that area, found in badgers and tested, slaughtered cattle.

That the skin test (which removes cattle exposed to m.bovis ahead of active most infection), appears to be practically useless on camelids is not helpful to any eradication process. Neither is the lack of physical symptoms. Vets have told us that sometimes a death is the first sign. And by them close contacts have been infected. "By the time they've buried the first one, there are a dozen more infected" was how it was described.

Camelid owners joint co-operation with the wider livestock industry in the eradication of TB is vital. And that is not hysteria, that is fact.

Tuberculosis is a zoonotic disease most countries have consigned to history. To let it rip through any animal population, with the obvious potential for onward transmission to human beings is mind blowingly reckless.

Anonymous said...

So what would you have the alpaca industry do? Stop all shows, selling of animals and off-farm matings? As there is no prospect of a reliable test, that would close down the industry.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9.08

When you have just had 17 of your finest (including your 2 studs) shot on farm and hauled off for analysis, when you know there is no reliable/available test and you know that it is impossible to tell if an animal is infected then stopping all those activities looks like the responsible option, actually. The gamma test does look promising; all of you outside TB areas should please respond to the request for volunteer tests. After all, you may think there isn't a problem but TB is coming to a badger sett near you; it is only a matter of time. Expose your herd to others and you may not even need to wait for the badger. Reading the comments it looks like some people need to wake up.

Dianne Summers said...

I noticed many posts looking forward to a comment from me. I kept trying to post but it wouldn't go through. Lets hope this one does.
All I can say is words fail me.
Some of the comments have been atrocious - the mass hysteria one in particular.
You have read posts from many suffering to this disease and the last post perfectly sums it up. My heart goes out to them. I have only ever had 3 shot at once so to endure 17 all at the same time - even I couldn't imagine that. The reason we put this information out through blogs like this is to make you aware - we don't want you going through what we in the support group are. is a rosette realy worth the risk??
There are a select group of alpaca breeders we call "the dark side" who have continually downplayed the seriousness of Tb - they don't want people to know about it - they even lie about it - because it can affect sales. Believe you me if you come down to tb in your herd you will lose a lot more than sales. By behaving in the way they do - they are losing respect from potential purchasers and fellow members of the industry.
As for the comment that the guidelines were only issued a few days before the show is no excuse. The use of fans - foot dips - mats - 9 metre seperation of pens was discussed in great depth at the TB meetings which finished on March 1st. I have suggested to the BAS Board the guidelines become rules. one would have hoped to protect our industry the show organiser would have followed the guidelines to the letter - not use the word as an excuse not to bother because they don't have to.

Matthew said...

Anon 9.08 asked what would we do. Stop shows, matings etc.?

This is very difficult as when cattle farmers can trade, the last thing on their minds is the implications of life and income, if they cannot. And we see a parallel here.

But we have no choice. Testing with an accurate test is compulsory (not for cattle health but to protect public health) as is immediate lock down if reactors to that test are found.

For camelid owners the realisation of the implications of such retrictions are mind blowing. And neither do we underestimate the anguish caused as animals are slaughtered. Some of us have the same empathy for our cattle - often young, some heavily pregnant and in our case, home bred.

With cattle, inter-herd spread is rare. We personally, have a pernicious and constant feed back of TB infection from wildlife. With camelids you have a double problem. Some alpacas may be infected in the same way as cattle, from exposure to badger detritis. But, unlike cattle, the ability to share TB amongst their herdmates is frightening.

Whether this because of a complete naivity of this animal to m. bovis, whether it is to do with the genetic devlopment of its lung capacity, geared to life at 10,000 feet up a mountain we wouldn't like to guess.
But the fact remains, alpacas are very susceptible to TB and antemortem tests thus far are not great.

Defra have no statutory right of entry to camelid premises unless they suspect or have proved TB exists there. Some breeders are using this, (Defra tables show about 6 premises have 'refused entry'.) But this is very short term thinking, we believe.

Alpacas incubating TB will still die. When they are sold on, the stress of a move will speed up that process. And then new owners face the lock down and clearance that should have already happened.

Our advice would be to work with your society, with camelid vets and local AHOs. Try to validate new antemortem tests. Heed the advice which is available on biosecurity, the keeping of animals in small separated groups with individual feed and water access. So if TB hits your herd, it will not rip through most of it.

Shows should be possible if carefully handled. But anything that encourages 'sharing' of exhaled air, should be avoided. And matings should possibly not mix too many animals together at one time. Records must be kept of groupings too.

We think a movement book is a must, so back traces can be made if AH need to track movements to and from any affected premises. All this is statutory for cattle, and regularly inspected. For camelids at the moment, it is voluntary. That could change.

So really it comes down to how much your members want to protect their industry, and the animals within it.

If sales are just the driver, and AH continue to be refused entry to premises they consider a risk, then suspicion and fear will destroy your industry from within.

Three years ago we reported llama TB casualties from Devon, and other postings have tracked the progression of the disease through your species.
From Staffordshire, through the Midlands, Glos, Devon and into the far SW, we hear of problems, and comments even on this thread, have told of huge losses from TB in a very short time. Alpaca deaths from TB in the first 3 months of 2010, from just a small sample of owners, equal those still showing of Defra's incomplete and outdated stats.
From Jan - March, 68 have been slaughtered.

Our advice as cattle farmers is to present a united front to Defra. Don't give the ministry cracks down which to scuttle. TB is a serious notifiable zoonosis - wherever it is found - and it is Defra's responsibilty to eradicate it to protect other mammals and human health..

Anonymous said...

This is the response from one show organiser to the BAS Bio security Guidelines. (See link on main posting) The criticisms were circulated to BAS members. Let's hope other show organizers are more concerned.

"Dear show organsiers, BAS judges and BAS board members,

Our view in general on this latest raft from the BAS appears to be, ill thought out, un-useable, illogical and largely unnecessary. It would seem that whoever passed these guidelines for publication has little practical experience of running shows, no appreciation of why we go to the expense of attending and no appreciation for the welfare of the alpacas.

As an aside, [] along with many of the country’s most experienced show organsiers were not included in the circulation for the Guidelines, nor were they ever consulted.

Probably not for this board that seem intent on reinventing the wheel from an ignorance stand point and continuing the theme established by the road shows of damaging our livelihood.

We have gone through each point with other show organsiers and experienced alpaca owners and our combined comments are as follows :"

(split comment - too many characters)

Anonymous said...

(Comments on BAS Biosecurity guidelines)

Point 1: 3 metres apart… if possible. What does that mean ? Surely the BAS should be recommending a minimum pen separation. Segregated penning sentence…… if you have the minimum pen separation defined, then there is no need for segregation. That is the whole point of having the separation!!

2: No collecting ring. Well most shows run a collecting area and a waiting area. What is wrong with this? If an individual owner does not want to stand next to another owner’s alpaca then perhaps they should consider moving their alpaca away to another part of the collecting ring or even still not attending the show. There is no science to support alpaca to alpaca transfer of bTB if the animal is in apparent good health.

3: This is a nonsense statement that says nothing of any interest. Clearly show secretaries will make the ring of acceptable size. What they should perhaps try and define is the minimum ring size required for the largest class. This definition would be in support of the alpaca handlers and the judges, nothing to do really with bio security.

4: Banning the use of fans is unacceptable to us from an alpaca health point of view. We have been told that a BAS advising vet recently suggested that the use of fans were beneficial to the well being of the alpacas when penned.

We have found no science or reasoned comment that suggests fans will compromise a bio security risk assessment. To suggest such is foolish. Indeed, in some housing situations at shows, the use of forced air circulation would be a distinct advantage for the health and welfare of the housed alpacas.

Electrical safety could be an issue if not properly implemented and it should be left to the show organiser to determine viability, and if so, to ensure adequate facilities are in place to satisfy the health and safety risk assessments. At some facilities, additional charges might be in order for the use of fans.

We appreciate that there might be health and safety risks, but this would be covered by the normal risk assessments done for any event. Most buildings that are currently used to pen alpacas at shows are very susceptible to condensation and humidity. I am sure that exhibitor numbers will fall in the future, if after a day/night in a building, their alpacas are too wet from sweating to enter the show ring.

5: We would urge the group to consider allowing exhibitors to exercise, and if needs be dry off their alpacas outside of the show building. We feel that it is an animal welfare breach to force alpacas to be penned for 2 days with no exercise in what could be hot sweaty conditions. If exhibitors do not wish to share outside space with others they do not have to take their alpacas outside.

The requirement for airing of fleeces will depend on the venue and air circulation. In poor venues or in marquees it will be essential. Movement of alpacas in and out of the venue should always be done over the disinfection mats not for bTB risk but for BVD and Johnes if that is of concern. Why not stipulate specifications for venue volume for animal numbers, add in requirement for forced air circulation at xm3 per sec, and maximum temperature and humidity and then there is a proper specification.

6: Soiled Bedding: What is this all about? If the BAS think that at the end of a show all exhibitors will clean up all pen bedding (those with large show teams would need a separate trailer to take it away) and remove it back to their farm they are in cuckoo land. But what is the reason and what are they trying to control? What is important is that a) there is a proper secure waste container suitably placed, for exhibitors to take their waste to b) that exhibitors take away from their pens soiled bedding on a regular basis and c) ensure that straw and faeces are not carried from their pen onto the walkways by the alpaca as it leaves.

Anonymous said...

7: Pointless statement. At County Shows winners go into the main parade so all species are together anyway.

8: This is fine, except that if any other personnel, who might have walked on a farm or around other livestock areas at a county show, are to tread on alpaca walkways then they should also have to go through the mats. What they should also do is define the disinfectant and dilution rate. This is a BVD and Johnes control.

9: What is this all about? Do they mean the hurdles have to be disinfected, or the floor of the pens?

Pens on grass should not be reused….. so an alpaca show cannot return to a grass space used in a previous year ? As a matter of interest, bacteria will not survive on metal hurdles as they will desiccate. Hard standing floor space provided by venues will be cleaned and disinfected by them as part of their venue rental charges.

Or they could copy the Futurity method and lay down carpet and then use the cardboard bedding. So much easier to maintain and clean up afterwards.

10: Inspections. This is again ill thought out. The cost of having a veterinarian present for the show duration is prohibitive and unnecessary. Chief Steward and/or designated penning stewards should have authority to raise concerns over any alpaca who appears to be in trouble or who has obvious potential infectious manifestations. Such concerns would be discussed between the owner and Show Sec whose decision on removal or not would be final. Show Secs must also have made arrangements for a local alpaca veterinarian to be available on-call. It will be the Show Secs decision following discussions with the owner whether to bring in the vet or not and such charges will be born by the owner unless prior arrangements have been made.

What also needs to be stipulated is that there must be available an isolation pen for such cases. Any suspicious alpaca should be moved there in the first instance whilst discussions take place.

11: Fine

12: Please correct us if we are wrong but we believe that the primary role of a show, at this stage of our fledgling industry is to....

1. Educate the public on what alpacas are and why we farm alpacas in the UK .

2. To promote our businesses to the general public by talking to them from our pens and introducing the idea of alpaca ownership.

3. To present our herd and breeding results to the industry and to gain recognition for sound breeding.

4. To meet with friends and share ideas, experiences and to view other prize winning alpacas.

By not allowing the public to view and talk with the exhibitors in the penning area, (Point 12), we are failing to provide the major incentive for exhibitors to attend the shows and we will significantly decrease the ability to bridge the gap from interested person to new alpaca owner. We fail to see what risk there is to the public that they would not experience at other shows were livestock are on display. Are we afraid that the public will give our alpacas a disease????

Anonymous said...

13: Fine

14: So, out in a grass field at a County show there has to be a wash room adjacent to the penning area…… I think not. Clearly water is needed for the alpacas but a stand pipe normally suffices. Unnecessary statement. Are they now going to define the maximum distance allowable between penning area and toilet/washroom facilities….. If they must, disinfecting hand wipes can be provided . Judges would probably like this as well.

15: One would have thought all shows would have a penning schedule designed by Chief Steward or Show Sec.

16: Why?

17: Libby Henson will have all details of alpaca entries as she does the schedule. Penning layouts could be recorded as well. However if this is for trace purposes what time interval are they going to implement between show date and any possible alpaca ill health. If for example an alpaca goes down with bTB after a show will all alpaca attendees at this show be immediately under a trace and subjected to testing by AH ? Quickest way to close a show down in my book. This is very dangerous ground to tread and should be steered well clear of. All exhibitors attend these shows and accept the disease risk involved. If owners are not happy with this then they should not attend.

And finally, perhaps one of the most important things that has to be done and is not mentioned is that of event insurance. All events should be made to carry proper insurance.

We fully appreciate the need to act and been seen to be tackling the TB issue but all we ask is for is a little common sense and logical thinking on the issues we have raised.


Anonymous said...

What upset many of us that attended the show was the fact a herd who had only come out of restriction a matter of days before having only done the skin test entered the show. We all know in camelids the skin test does not remove infected animals from herds.
This is why so many have agreed to do the blood tests which unlike the skin test picks up infection. This breeder refused the blood tests and to add fuel to the fire threw in a couple of fans for the added pleasure.
Then trundeled off to France with a truckload of em. The BAS Tb roadshows advised not to sell or show for at least a year after coming out of restriction. This breeder obviously isn't bothered about that. Is it only a matter of time before we have a Tb casualty in Europe traced back to the U.K. ?