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Stackyard News Mar 06

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EFU conditions must be revised if TB testing exemption system is to work

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cattle feeding

Beef farmers with holdings in one and two year TB testing parishes should face no more regulation than is necessary and their position at the centre of the TB control zones should be made as comfortable as possible in the circumstances they face, the National Beef Association said today.

It wants to see a working chain of pre-movement testing exempt finishing units ( EFUs ) and auction sales established to relieve the pressure on store cattle moving off breeding farms in TB hot spots and has asked Defra to encourage this by revising its EFU conditions.

“More cattle will be able to move through exempt sales if there are enough EFUs in place to accept them,” explained NBA chief executive, Robert Forster.

“This is why we have asked Defra to reconsider two EFU conditions which we believe to be too harsh as well as counterproductive because they will restrict EFU use and add to the pressure PMT controls will put on farmers.”

The first is the requirement that equipment, machinery, clothing and personnel on the EFU must not be shared with other premises - even under the same ownership.

“This is over prescriptive. TB is not FMD and the risk of it being passed on to cattle on another unit, or building, through shared equipment, machinery, clothing and personnel is extremely low,” explained Mr Forster.

“Defra must exercise a sense of proportion and allow more EFUs to be established by removing this excessive restraint. We are quite sure that only a handful of finishers could set up an EFU in which equipment, machinery, clothing and personnel were exclusive to the EFU itself and this would make EFUs less effective.”

“Our second point is the requirement that manure or used bedding is not spread on grassland. The biosecurity argument to justify this measure is also being overplayed.”

“If manure is stored for a period before spreading we are sure there would be no additional biosecurity risk if it was used on grass as well as arable land because badgers would root amongst it for worms, whatever the location, and fermentation would mean the risk of TB spread to wildlife would be too small to measure anyway.”

“The important biosecurity safeguards for EFUs are that there is no possibility of direct contact with other cattle and that badgers cannot enter the feed storage and feeding areas. We support Defra's inclusion of these but have asked it to revise others,” Mr Forster added.

link Cattle farmers in TB damaged area must support badger
link Badger Trust condemns pre-movement TB testing delays
link Start date for pre-movement testing of cattle for bovine TB delayed

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