Welsh farmers warned over TB testing change

Welsh cattle farmers have been warned they could face paying for their TB tests under new measures set to begin on Wednesday (1 April).

For the first time TB testing will be in the hands of two contracted delivery partners in Wales. Lechyd Da (Gwledig) has responsibility for delivering the contract in the south and Menter a Busnes in north Wales.

See also: Bovine TB testing contracts awarded in Wales

The service will remain free if farmers use a practice that is part of the delivery partner’s network of subcontractors.

If they don’t they must have the test done privately and foot the bill. The Welsh government won’t pay for this test and the farmer will need to arrange to have the test done privately at his or her own expense.

In most cases it is likely that the veterinary practice currently delivering a farmer’s TB testing will continue to do so but it this business is not a subcontractor for the delivery partner they will be offered a choice of alternatives, says the Animal and Plant Health Agency.

Farmers will only have to take action if they want an alternative practice to deliver the test and in this circumstance they would need to register their preferred choice of practice with the delivery partner.

Every cattle farmer in Wales can expect to receive a letter explaining the new rules.

The Welsh government is also emphasising the rules surrounding cattle movements to summer grazing.

Cattle need to have had a clear TB test no more than 60 days before they can be moved and they will also need a clear test before they can return to the main holding in the autumn.

Wales’ chief veterinary officer, Christianne Glossop, says the rule applies to all cattle being moved to any land not registered as part of the keeper’s CPH or included within an Interim Land Association Management (ILAM) agreement.