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‘Farmers who have avoided TB for six years can revert to annual testing’

Farming Minister George Eustice said the move would reduce the testing burden on these lower-risk farms – applied to farmers in parts of the bTB Edge Area – and incentivise others ‘to take steps to reduce their TB risks’.

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Farmers who’ve avoided TB for six years can revert to annual testing, says Eustice

Farmers will be incentivised to steer clear of bovine TB for at least six years to revert their six-monthly testing to annual visits.

 

Farming Minister George Eustice said the move would reduce the testing burden on these lower-risk farms – applied to farmers in parts of the bTB Edge Area – and incentivise others ‘to take steps to reduce their TB risks’.

 

The six-monthly testing also applies to farmers who have achieved Cattle Health Certification Standards (CHeCS) TB accreditation of their herds. It will come into effect in May 2019.

 

Mr Eustice said: “By allowing these lower-risk herds to revert to annual testing we want to encourage other farmers to take steps to reduce the risks of bovine TB.


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“From stringent biosecurity to the application of risk-based trading principles, farmers need to be doing everything they can to stop this disease spreading.”

 

The report also sets out a new programme of action designed to increase farmers’ resilience to bovine TB, including a £25,000 investment to improve the TB Hub website – the central hub for information on the disease.

 

Mr Eustice said the government would continue to apply a range of interventions, including cattle movement controls, increased and better TB testing and licensed badger control in certain areas.

 

More than 32,000 badgers were culled in a six-week badger control operation between September and November 2018 across 30 areas in Cheshire, Cornwall, Cumbria, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Somerset, Staffordshire and Wiltshire.

 

Biosecurity

NFU vice president Stuart Roberts said it was important the policy conditions around earned recognition did not create unfair trading environments which penalise farmers already struggling with TB.

 

He said: “Farmers across the country are already taking a range of steps to protect their businesses from this disease, through measures such as securing feed stores, double fencing fields to stop nose-to-nose contact with cattle on adjoining farms, and preventing wildlife accessing buildings.

 

“Many of these measures have additional benefits in terms of minimising the risk of other cattle diseases. The key for farmers is which biosecurity measures bring the greatest disease control benefits.”

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