30 November 2001
TB tests to clear cattle backlog

By FWi staff

TESTS for tuberculosis in cattle have restarted after a nine-month gap created a massive backlog on herds most at risk from the disease.

Testing has started in some foot-and-mouth-free counties for the first time since February, said the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs.

Clearing an 8000-herd backlog is a priority, according to veterinary risk assessment, the department said. High-risk cattle will be prioritised.

“But even with additional staff, it will be some time before TB testing returns to normal,” Defra warned in a statement.

Field research into the growing problem of TB in cattle, including work on the badger culling trials, has also resumed after a long delay.

Surveillance work in areas where trials on the effects of culling badgers on TB spread has also restarted.

But culling will not begin again until May, the end of the closed season which allows badgers to breed in the spring.