DEFRA has announced new cattle control measures as part of its bovine TB eradication programme. The strengthened rules include changes to the surveillance testing regime and cattle movement controls.
DEFRA has announced new cattle control measures as part of its bovine TB eradication programme.
The strengthened rules will come into force on January 1, 2013 and include changes to the surveillance testing regime and cattle movement controls.
Agriculture minister David Heath said: “We need to stop the spread of TB, which led to the slaughter of 26,000 cattle last year alone.
“These strengthened measures, alongside our badger control policy and the ongoing development of vaccines, are about reducing risks from all possible sources of TB infection to help control the disease and eventually eradicate it.”
Under the new measures England will be divided into two cattle testing frequency areas. Annual testing of farms will be extended in the south west, west and central England and East Sussex, to include adjoining areas which are at greatest risk from geographic spread of TB.
The rest of England will be placed on four-yearly testing while a raft of new rules have been introduced to control cattle movement, which are as follows:
- In all cases, farmers who have a case of TB on their farm will not be allowed to bring in new cattle until the rest of the herd has been tested for TB and a vet has carried out an assessment.
- Farmers now have 30 days to move cattle (down from 60 days) that test negative for TB from a TB breakdown farm.
- Approved quarantined units (AQUs) are going to be phased out. From 2013 existing AQUs will not be able to take on anymore calves.
- TB free cattle are sent to approved finishing units (AFUs) from TB infected farms for fattening before they are slaughtered. The conditions in these will be strictly monitored to maintain high standards and prevent the spread of TB. Some operators will see their licences removed for serious breaches.
DEFRA is also looking at measures to deal with TB in other species. Details on these will be announced as they are developed.