Herd certification is loosely defined as a program designed to classify herds according to the probability that individual animals in those herds are infected with M. paratuberculosis.
The primary aim of certification programs is two-fold:
Johne's disease should be considered a herd, not just an individual animal, health problem. Certification programs apply laboratory tests to classify herds by levels of infection ranging from not infected to very likely infected. Often such programs have regulations that participating herd owners must follow regarding the sources for replacement animals. These rules are designed to help herd owners avoid bringing M. paratuberculosis-infected elk into their herds without compromising their ability to do business.
These programs can be established by industry associations, state or federal governments or a consortium of participants. For example, Australia has created Johne's disease certification programs for cattle (both beef and dairy), sheep, goats, and alpaca. The program is administered by Animal Health Australia, a novel non-profit corporation with joint funding from animal health industries and the state and federal governments. This program demonstrates that an animal industry need not wait for state or federal initiatives.
offer economic value to participants: owners of herds certified as free of the
infection usually can command higher prices for their animals. Certification programs
are an animal industry's best defense against the spread of Johne's disease and
can be designed to meet the needs of any animal industry. Consider supporting
a certification program for the health of your animals and your animal industry.