Tougher measures to control the spread of bovine tuberculosis in England have been revealed by DEFRA.
The measures, which will be introduced from 1 July, include additional requirements for pre-movement testing and a move to reduce compensation for outbreaks where TB tests are overdue.
Farm minister Jim Paice announced the changes on 2 May.
“We need to stop the spread of bovine TB, that last year led to the slaughter of 26,000 cattle and could cost the taxpayer £1 billion pounds over the next 10 years unless action is taken,” Mr Paice said.
“Farmers have shown their commitment to tackle this devastating disease which is taking a terrible toll on their communities and businesses. These strengthened measures, alongside work to pilot badger culling, and the development of badger and cattle vaccines, aim to help control the disease and eventually eradicate it.”
The new rules will remove the exemption allowing cattle held on a farm for under 30 days to be moved without being tested. In addition, cattle moving from higher risk herds to agricultural shows for more than 24 hours will have to be pre-movement tested.
Farmers with linked premises will see more stringent regulation, and will have to test cattle before moving them within Sole Occupancy Authorities that have holdings in high and low risk TB areas. From 1 July, DEFRA will no longer approve new Sole Occupancy Authorities, or new Cattle Tracing System links between holdings in high and low TB risk areas. Existing links between high- and low-risk areas will be removed on a phased basis.
To discourage late testing of cattle, farmers with overdue tests by more than 60 days will receive reduced compensation for any TB affected cattle. A new compensation category for young pedigree beef animals will be introduced, while dairy calved animals will be split into two age bands to make the compensation system more transparent.
DEFRA TB measures
• Remove exemption which allows cattle based on a farm for under 30 days to be moved on without a test
• Introduce pre-movement testing for cattle moved from high TB risk herds to shows where cattle are housed or held for more than 24 hours.
• Reduce compensation in herds with TB if tests are overdue by more than 60 days.
• Remove pre-movement testing exemption within “Sole Occupancy Authorities” (SOA), which cover linked premises, that have holdings in high and low risk TB areas.
• No new Sole Occupancy Authorities will be approved
• No new Cattle Tracing System links between holdings in high and low TB risk areas will be approved, with existing links between high- and low-risk areas being removed on a phased basis.