The Scottish government has announced a 12-week-long public consultation on proposals for controls to address incidences of bovine tuberculosis (TB) in animals including llamas, sheep, goats, pigs and farmed deer.

The EU Commission recognised Scotland as being officially TB-free in September 2009 and the Scottish government wants to maintain the status by minimising all potential sources of infection and reducing the risk of disease spread as far as possible.

See also: ‘Groundbreaking’ TB blood test for camelids launched

Rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead said that although the cattle industry was strictly regulated for TB, there were currently no legal powers in Scotland specifically covering controls of non-bovine species, except deer, where TB is strongly suspected or confirmed.

“Introducing a non-bovine TB Order will provide Scottish ministers and the Animal Health Veterinary Laboratories Agency with the powers needed to deal effectively and quickly with TB incidents in camelids, goats, sheep, pigs and deer when they arise. It will also give us the ability to provide animal keepers with statutory compensation for animals slaughtered as a result of TB,” he said.

“We are launching this public consultation to engage directly with the various livestock sectors, who will shortly be invited to meet officials to discuss any issues raised by the proposal.”

Elsewhere in Britain, Defra announced a series of new measures for camelids in 2013, which included a voluntary code of practice on TB surveillance and herd accreditation. And in 2011 the Welsh government made provision for testing and movement of non-bovine livestock.

The Scottish government consultation will run to the end of December.

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