Farmers taking cattle from England’s Low Risk Area (LRA) to multi-day shows in the High Risk Area (HRA), Edge Area and Wales will, from this week, have to post-movement TB test them on their return.
Show organisers across the country have been seeking clarity from Defra this week amid concerns new post-movement testing rules introduced on Wednesday (April 6) could play havoc with cattle entries.
The new rules require cattle moving onto a holding in the LRA from England’s HRA, Edge Area and Wales to be post-movement tested between 60 and 120 days after arrival. It is the farmer’s responsibility to organise and pay for the tests.
The implications for shows have been clouded in uncertainty, prompting the Association of Show and Agricultural Organisations (ASAO) to request a meeting with Defra at the end of last week.
Asked by Farmers Guardian to clarify the rules this week, a Defra spokesman explained:
This will affect some of the big shows from the North West of England, through to the Midlands, Wales and South West, areas currently under one-year or more frequent TB testing. Some of these are likely to struggle to attract entries from the northern and eastern counties, if the rules stay as they are.
But the spokesman said Defra did ’not envisage’ requiring cattle moving to shows in the LRA from other areas having to be post-movement tested before they return home, ’given the impracticalities’, which would involve cattle remaining in the LRA for at least 60 days.
He said: “The existing legislation does allow us to require that but the licensing regime will enable us to allow movement back to the home premises straight after the show.”
ASAO secretary Paul Hooper said the show community was still in discussions with Defra and the Animal Plant and Health Agency (APHA) to seek clarity and a proportionate approach to the new rules ’on the ground’.
He said: “We have held discussions with Defra due to the various implications the new rules are likely to have. We have gone back to them this week with more proposals and I am just waiting to hear.”
The Defra spokesman said there were no plans to change any of the rules.
From April 6, farmers in England’s Low-Risk Area (LRA) will need to arrange post-movement testing of cattle coming from the Edge and High-Risk Areas (HRA) of England and from Wales.
To find out more about post-movement testing see Defra’s TB Hub