Movement test to be delayed

The NFU has urged DEFRA to postpone until May the introduction of compulsory pre-movement testing of cattle coming from herds under one- and two-year testing restrictions.

The requirement is due to become mandatory from 27 March, having already been postponed from 20 February when it was acknowledged that farmers and vets had not had sufficient time to prepare.

In a letter to junior DEFRA minister Ben Bradshaw NFU deputy president Meurig Raymond requested that they again be delayed, this time until at least 22 May.

In his letter Mr Raymond highlights that since the delay announcement of 16 February, no further guidance has been issued to the State Veterinary Service despite it being more than clear that the initial guidance was unsatisfactory, particularly in relation to exempt markets and exempt fattening units.

He also says fundamental technical questions remain outstanding, and that the cost-benefit analysis contained in the Regulatory Impact Assessment accompanying the TB Order is deeply flawed.

Mr Raymond wrote: “The NFU accepts the need for stringent measures to reduce the incidence of Bovine TB.

“But for all of the above reasons, I would urge you to delay introduction of pre-movement testing until at least Monday, 22 May.

“Without adequate preparation and clear guidance, the new regime will be completely unworkable, to the discredit of all involved.”