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Farmers urged to prepare for new TB cattle controls next month

Next month will see the introduction of new cattle controls affecting farmers in all of England’s three TB risk areas.
Post-movement testing will become compulsory in England from April 6
Post-movement testing will become compulsory in England from April 6
Cattle farmers in England have been reminded about new bovine TB cattle control measures coming into force next month, including compulsory post-movement testing.

 

From 6 April 2016, new legislation will require farmers in England’s Low Risk Area (LRA) to arrange for post-movement testing of cattle coming from the rest of England and from Wales. Testing must be carried out between 60 and 120 days of the animal’s arrival in the LRA.

 

Defra said more than half of new bovine TB infections in the LRA were ’clearly linked to cattle purchased from higher risk areas’.

 

The introduction of compulsory post-movement testing will provide greater confidence the LRA ’can become and remain officially TB-free’, it said.
Guidance on the introduction of post-movement testing to the Low Risk Area is available on Defra’s TB Hub here

 

Following consultation last year, three additional measures will be introduced at the same time:

 

  • All herds in the High Risk Area affected by a new TB breakdown will need to pass two consecutive short interval herd tests, read under severe interpretation, before restrictions are lifted. Currently only one is needed where cattle show no visible lesions and show negative laboratory culture results. This will increase the chances of finding all infected animals in those herds, Defra said.
  • Free pre-sale TB tests will be available to many herd owners in the Low Risk Area selling 20or more cattle in a single purchase. This will enable sellers to provide additional assurance for buyers and mitigate the low risk of undetected TB spreading to new herds, Defra said.
  • The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) will start offering the option of private Interferon Gamma blood tests to diagnose TB under certain conditions and subject to prior approval from APHA.

 

Guidance on the handling of bovine TB breakdowns in the High Risk Area is available here

 

Guidance on pre-sale TB check tests in the Low Risk area is available here

TB free status

Defra said it was on track for the Low Risk Area, which covers more than half of England, to be declared officially TB free by 2019.

 

"The confirmation of TB-free status by the European Commission will improve our international reputation, boost our trade prospects and deliver benefits worth millions of pounds to our beef and dairy industries," the Department said.

 

The new cattle control measures were announced at the end of last year by Defra Secretary Liz Truss. She also confirmed she was prepared to permit badger culling to be extended to new areas of England, after culling operations in Gloucestershire, Somerset and Dorset were deemed a success in last year.

 

Farming Minister George Eustice said: “We are presiding over a huge collective effort to eradicate bovine TB in England.

 

“Our comprehensive strategy is clear: the disease can only be defeated by taking coordinated action on cattle movements, cattle testing and badger control.

 

“The cattle measures we are introducing in April will help protect against cattle-to-cattle transmission and bring the Low Risk Area closer to achieving TB freedom.”

 

The Government’s TB eradication strategy is entering its ’third year of full implementation’. This includes tighter cattle measures, improved biosecurity and badger control in areas where the disease is rife, Defra said.

 

In February, Mrs Truss announced £1 million of funding would be made available for a new bovine TB advisory service which will provide high quality and tailored advice on improving biosecurity for farmers in the High Risk and Edge Areas.

 

 

 

 


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How to achieve TB free status 

To achieve TB free status, at least 99.9 per cent of herds must have been TB free for at least six consecutive years.

 

Seventeen of the twenty-eight EU countries have achieved officially TB-free status and a further three have one or more officially TB-free regions, including Scotland and Isle of Man in the UK.

 

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