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Start date for pre-movement testing of cattle for bovine TB delayed
16/02/06

New rules to help reduce the risk of spreading bovine TB through movements of cattle in England will now be introduced on 27 March to give industry more time to prepare for the measure, Defra announced today.

Defra has listened to concerns raised by the farming industry and veterinary profession and will appoint an independent advisor to carry out a rapid survey of veterinary capacity and preparedness to deliver the new requirements for pre movement testing. The detail of the policy will not be subject to review.

Animal Health and Welfare Minister Ben Bradshaw said:

“Effective cattle controls are vital to combat continuing increases in bovine TB. Pre-movement testing is essential to reduce the risk of this disease spreading through cattle movements.

“Delaying introduction until 27 March is not a decision that has been taken lightly and I urge farming and veterinary communities to use this additional time to consider the detailed guidance and prepare their businesses for the new start date.

“Our advice remains that it is good practice to conduct pre- and post- movement tests. Farmers should not wait for legislation to do this; it is in everyone’s interests - these tests are a necessary fact of life if we want to reduce the levels of bovine TB.”

From 27 March it will be a statutory requirement that cattle aged over 15 months of age moving out of a 1 -2 yearly tested herd, must have tested negative to a TB test within 60 days prior to movement unless the herd or movement meets any of the exemptions. Farmers should plan ahead and will want to seek and retain evidence of clear TB tests so those animals can move freely for 60 days.

Routine herd surveillance tests can be used as a pre-movement test, and will continue to be paid for by the Government, as long as the animals are moved within 60 days of a clear test.

All other pre-movement tests must be arranged and paid for by the herd owner.

Pending the introduction of pre-movement testing in Wales, herd owners in England should assure themselves that cattle bought from 1 - 2 yearly tested herds in Wales have been pre-movement tested.

All cattle owners have been sent an annual statement explaining their parish and herd testing interval with a guidance booklet, TB in Cattle - Reducing the Risk: Pre- and Post- Movement testing in Great Britain. This booklet explains how herd owners can meet the new testing requirements was issued to the industry in December 2005.

Notes:

1. Pre-movement testing was originally to be introduced on 20 February 2006 as one of the new measures announced by Defra in December 2005 to tackle bovine TB in cattle in England, the others being the introduction of a new cattle compensation system, which came into force on 1 February, and a 12-week consultation on badger culling, which ends on 10 March.

2. For further information on pre-movement testing cattle owners should contact their local Animal Health Divisional Office (AHDO).

3. From 1 March 2007, pre-movement testing requirements will be extended to cattle over 42 days old (subject to exemptions).

4. The Welsh Assembly Government plans to introduce the same pre-movement testing policy in Spring 2006. Pending introduction of pre-movement testing in Wales, English herd owners are advised to request evidence that cattle over 15 months of ages moved from 1 or 2 yearly tested herds in Wales are either pre-movement tested or exempt.

5. The Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs Department introduced compulsory pre- and post- movement testing requirements for Scotland on 23 September 2005. The legislation requires Scottish keepers to ensure that all cattle over 42 days of age, originating from 1 or 2 yearly testing parishes have been pre-movement tested within 60 days prior to the movement, before being moved onto their holding.

link No logic to pro-badger lobby efforts to avoid anti-TB culling
link Defra Guilty Of Half Measures On TB
link Government Lacks Leadership On Bovine TB

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