Royal Welsh Show 2014: TB test all cattle from England, Welsh farmers told

Welsh livestock farmers are being urged to insist on pre-movement TB testing of any cattle they source outside Wales.

All beef and dairy cattle over six weeks old are tested when they are moved between holdings and herds are also tested annually, but this is not the case across the border in England. Here some herds only undergo testing every four years and, because of this, there is a perception that these animals are low risk.

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Anglesey livestock farmer Peredur Hughes fears this different approach leaves all herds in Wales vulnerable to infection.

“It is heartbreaking and it worries me that TB will become endemic in clean areas,” Mr Hughes told a panel of TB experts at the Royal Welsh Show.

Wales’ chief vet, Professor Christianne Glossop, said it was in the interest of Welsh farmers to only buy animals that had been tested first.

“It is not against the law to have animals pre-movement tested, there doesn’t have to be a government policy in place to test for disease. Why is it that when it comes to TB, if farmers can get away without TB testing, they will buy the animals regardless?” she said.

At the Royal Welsh Show, all entries in the cattle classes must first be tested because the show is longer than one day and cattle are housed.

Wales’ deputy farm minister Rebecca Evans said she had written to her counterpart at Defra, Liz Truss, to raise the issue of the four-year testing rule. “I am looking forward to a response on that,” she said.