5 July 2002

Slaughter follows bovine TB tests

FOUR cattle have been slaughtered on three North Yorks farms after reacting to bovine tuberculosis tests.

Leeds divisional veterinary manager John Williams refused to name the location of the farms, but confirmed the animals had been slaughtered and that it could be mid-July before laboratory tests were concluded.

If the tests confirm the disease it will be the first time bovine TB has been found in the area for 15 years. Other animals in the suspect herds are being kept in isolation and re-tested at frequent intervals.

Meanwhile, movement restrictions have been placed on all of the farms affected.

Mr Williams said vets in Yorks had been on alert for signs of bovine TB on farms which have re-stocked with cattle from other areas of the UK after foot-and-mouth disease.

"Our vets are always on the look-out for any notifiable disease but they have been paying special attention to these farms.

"These animals are under suspicion. But there is a tremendous distinction between finding reactors and positively identifying animals that have the disease. So far, we have found nothing to confirm that there is bovine TB in the county."

Any herds where bovine TB has been suspected are tested at three-monthly and then six-monthly intervals.

After that, cattle will fall back into the normal four-year testing programme. n &#42