The Scottish Government has announced a consultation on plans to slash TB compensation for farmers who break movement and testing rules as the disease continues its march northwards.
At the moment, full compensation is paid to the owners of any animals slaughtered because of TB, including those who have moved cattle to an infected premises without a licence.
If the proposals are agreed, compensation would be withheld or reduced in these circumstances.
Payouts would also be cut for herds where TB testing was overdue.
Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “The Scottish Government is committed to maintaining our current low level of TB and safeguarding our official TB-free status.
“It seems only fair that, where a keeper has broken rules, they should not then be able to recover the full market value for animals which are slaughtered as a result of poor farming practice or non-compliance.
“We are therefore looking for views as to whether further measures to encourage Scottish farmers to follow good farming practices and keep diseases out of their herds are required.
The British Veterinary Association and NFU Scotland have welcomed the consultation, which will close on November 30.
Penny Middleton, policy manager for animal health at the union, said: “Bovine TB has been causing high levels of concern in some regions and we have had calls from some members looking for a tightening of the rules on high risk cattle movements.
“We recognise the concerns surrounding the risk of losing our officially TB-free status and it is a subject we had already planned to discuss at upcoming committee meetings.
“NFUS will be looking closely at the proposals and looking for feedback from our members. It is not possible to comment further until this process has been completed, but we will be responding and may have some further suggestions we would also like considered.”
You can respond to the consultation by visiting the Scottish Government website.