Routine TB testing has been abolished for cattle housed in approved finishing units (AFUs) – unless there is evidence of an extensive TB problem identified in livestock sent to slaughter.

DEFRA said there would be no government-funded TB testing in non-grazing approved AFUs from 1 June. Units had strict biosecurity measures, cattle were housed in wildlife-proof buildings and could only move to slaughter, it said.

AFUs provided a useful and secure trade option for cattle farmers with TB restricted herds, said DEFRA. By providing an outlet for bovine TB affected business’ surplus stock they helped reduce welfare problems, it added.

A DEFRA spokesman said: “These changes will reduce the burden on farmers without any increase to the disease risk. Non-grazing AFUs are subject to strict biosecurity conditions and cattle can only move from an AFU to slaughter, so there is no risk of spreading disease.”

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