Cattle farmers reminded of changes to licensed TB unit rules

Cattle farmers with bovine TB-infected herds (breakdowns) are being reminded that new rules around changes to licensed units have now come into force in England and Wales.

Approved finishing units (AFUs) offer a route for rearing, fattening or finishing cattle from TB-restricted and unrestricted farms.

From 31 December 2022, a pre-movement test is no longer required for cattle moving both directly between AFUs and indirectly via an orange market. 

See also: How the free bovine TB advisory service is helping farmers

Second, the validity of a pre-movement test for cattle from TB-restricted holdings entering a TB isolation unit has been increased from 30 to 60 days. 

Derbyshire-based farm vet Sarah Tomlinson said: “Approved finishing units and isolation units are both useful tools to help farmers to keep running a business through a TB breakdown and allow livestock to move off farms, and maintain animal health and welfare while they are under movement restrictions. 

“The rule changes have come about through discussions between Defra, the Welsh government, the Animal and Plant Health Agency, the NFU, British Veterinary Association and British Cattle Veterinary Association.

“They are sensible changes to make these units more workable in practice, yet not increase the risk of TB spread.”

AFU finder online

A new AFU finder has now gone live on the ibTB website which allows users to locate their five nearest AFUs.

Ms Tomlinson, who is also technical director at the TB Advisory Service, advised cattle farmers to use the ibTB website to assess the risk any incoming cattle could pose to their own holding by researching the TB history of the herds they were considering purchasing from.

Defra is currently trying to understand and assess what improvements users would like to see made to ibTB via an online survey.