Changes to cattle controls as part of government measures to tackle bovine TB in England have come into effect.

In May, farming minister Jim Paice announced that stricter controls for pre-movement testing of cattle in England were being stepped up by DEFRA this summer.

The new requirements, which include moves to reduce compensation for outbreaks where TB tests are overdue, came into effect from 1 July 2012.

In summary, the changes are:

Cattle compensation payments

  • Reduced compensation for TB reactor cattle from herds with significantly overdue TB tests
  • New cattle compensation (“table valuation”) categories

TB pre-movement testing exemptions

  • Ending of 30-day residency exemption for pre-movement testing
  • Pre-movement testing of cattle in high TB risk herds will be required for movements to agricultural shows if cattle will be at the show for more than 24 hours and/or housed at the showground
  • The exemption permitting movements within Sole Occupancy Authorities (SOAs) will be revised – for SOAs that span across the boundary of high and low TB risk areas, movements from holdings in high TB risk areas within the SOA will require a pre-movement test

Changes to Cattle Tracing System (CTS) links and Single Occupancy Authorities (SOA)

  • No new SOA applications, or requests for the addition of new holdings to existing SOAs, will be approved
  • No new CTS links, or the renewal of existing links when they expire, will be permitted if the link includes holdings in both high and low TB risk areas. Links between holdings in high and low TB risk areas that do not have an expiry date will also be phased out

Last year, bovine TB led to the slaughter of 26,000 cattle and the disease could cost taxpayers £10bn unless action is taken, DEFRA said.

The Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) has also produced an information leaflet Dealing with TB in your herd: Pre- and post movement testing of cattle in Great Britain to provide cattle keepers with advice and guidance on the pre- and post-movement testing requirements for cattle in England, Scotland and Wales.

The Q&A on three bovine TB information notes has been updated following feedback.

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