is loosely defined as a process designed to classify flocks according
to the probability that individual animals in those flocks are infected
with M. paratuberculosis.
The primary aim of a certification program is two-fold:
Johne's disease should be considered a flock, not just an individual animal, health problem. Certification programs apply laboratory tests to classify flocks by levels of infection ranging from not infected at all to very likely infected. Often such programs have regulations that participating flock owners must follow regarding the sources for replacement animals. These rules are designed to help flock owners avoid bringing M. paratuberculosis-infected sheep into their flocks 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
These programs offer economic value to participants: owners of flocks 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 industry.