Biosecurity is the prevention of disease causing agents entering or leaving any place where they can pose a risk to farm animals, other animals, humans, or the safety and quality of a food product.

The term biosecurity encompasses both bioexclusion (keeping infectious diseases out of holdings) and biocontainment (reducing infectious disease threats within the farm).

Bioexclusion practices can help to reduce the risk of bringing disease on to a farm, such as by added animals that have been bought in (imported or from local trade), animals returning from shows, sales, out-farms, housing or borrowed stock (e.g. a bull).  These animals represent the greatest biosecurity risk to the resident livestock.  Every farmer should also aim to minimise the indirect spread of disease, such as by farm visitors, slurry, equipment or other materials. The AHWNI leaflet “Bioexclusion: Keeping Infectious Diseases Out of Your Herd” provides a structured approach to assessing herd biosecurity in these areas.

Infectious agents include many different types of bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites.  These can cause a wide range of diseases.   However the control strategies that can be put into place are often effective against more than one infectious agent.  Good biocontainment protocols should be practised at all times, not just during a disease outbreak. Taking the right measures in the early stages of an outbreak e.g. before you know disease is in an area or on a farm can help prevent or reduce its spread.

This series of information leaflets for farmers, advisors and veterinary practitioners aims to provide science-based, practical advice and guidelines on disease control that are easily implemented on farm.


Associated Programmes BVD Programme Johne's Disease Programme

Developed and led by Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute Agricultural and Rural Development AgriSearch Animal Health and Welfare NI The Association of Veterinary Surgeons Practicing in Northern Ireland College of Agriculture, Food & Rural Enterprise Dairy Breed Societies Livestock and Meat Commission National Beef Association Northern Ireland Agricultural Producers Association NI Livestock Auctioneers Association NIVA Ulster Farmers Union


Animal Health and Welfare NI, Unit 49, Dungannon Enterprise Centre, 5 Coalisland, Dungannon, Co. Tyrone, BT71 6JT

Telephone:028 79639333