New cattle testing legislation

‘More than half of new bovine TB infections in the Low Risk Area [of England are] clearly linked to cattle purchased from higher risk areas’ said DEFRA in its announcement of stricter cattle testing measures being introduced from 6 April 2016.

DEFRA aims to make the Low Risk Area become and remain officially TB-free.

New measures include:

  • all herds in the High Risk Area affected by a new TB breakdown will now have to pass TWO tests before movement restrictions are lifted
  • farmers in the Low Risk Area must arrange for post-movement testing of cattle coming from the rest of England and Wales
  • free TB tests will be available to many herd owners in the Low Risk Area
  • Private Interferon Gamma blood tests, which are said to be more accurate, will be offered to some farms

The NFU Chief Advisor for Animal Health and Welfare said they were “disappointed” about the ‘two test’ requirement as it could restrict trade too much.

According to Western Morning News, ‘The South West regional chairman of the NFU said farmers reluctantly accepted the need for extra testing – because efforts to tackle bovine TB in wildlife were also being stepped up, with a roll-out of the badger cull.’