A one-off test for bovine TB of allcattle herds in Wales begins today (October 1) with an additional 3,500herds being tested over the next 15 months, concluding on December 31.

The TB Health Check Wales is a key stage of the Welsh Assembly Government’s £27.7m TB eradication programme and will provide a means of achieving a more detailed understanding of the current level and location of bovine TB across Wales, so that informed decisions can be made.

Tests which are already due within this period will be included as part of the Health Check. The test used will be the tuberculin skin test which is the internationally accepted standard for the detection of bovine TB, and is considered the best test currently available for detecting tuberculosis in live animals. All animals over 42 days old will be tested.

Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones said: “This is a considerable piece of work and means that in 15 months we will be testing herds that would normally take four years to test.

“We know where there are areas with high levels of disease but it is important to have an accurate disease picture across the whole of Wales. It will be particularly interesting and valuable to see the results for North Wales, an area which is considered to be less affected by TB. If this proves to be the case we can then continue with efforts to keep it that way.

“I am grateful for the co-operation of farmers and vets in this exercise. The TB Health Check Wales provides a real opportunity to identify the disease earlier.”

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