The Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF)

Changes to TB cattle movement controls

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This measure builds on changes made in 2012 and 2013 to TB cattle controls and is consistent with the “Strategy for Achieving ‘Officially Bovine Tuberculosis-Free’ Status for England”. The aim of the Strategy, published on 3rd April 2014, is to achieve Official bovine TB Free (OTF) Status for England within 25 years, whilst maintaining a sustainable livestock industry.

Introduction 

Bovine tuberculosis (TB) is one of the most significant problems affecting animal health and sustainable farming in England. It is a chronic infectious disease of cattle caused by Mycobacterium bovis (M. bovis). While cattle are particularly susceptible, M. bovis can infect other mammals too. This measure builds on changes made in 2012 and 2013 to TB cattle controls and is consistent with the “Strategy for Achieving ‘Officially Bovine Tuberculosis-Free’ Status for England”. The aim of theStrategy, published on 3rd April 2014, is to achieve Official bovine TB Free (OTF) Status for England within 25 years, whilst maintaining a sustainable livestock industry. 

What’s changing? 

Pre-movement testing of cattle for TB has been in place in England since 2006 to improve TB surveillance and to help detect infected cattle before they move and spread the disease to other herds. There is currently an exemption from pre-movement testing for movements of cattle to and from common land. From 30 June 2014, the default will be that all cattle aged over 42 days of age moving to and from common land in the annual testing area must be pre-movement tested. 

For movements back from the common, farmers can carry out a post-movement test nstead to reflect the fact that in most cases, TB testing on common land is impractical and dangerous. AHVLA will consider licensing some cattle movements without pre-movement testing where veterinary judgement is that an agreed TB “control plan” for the whole common gives at least the same level of assurance as testing would provide. Defra is encouraging commoners associations to work with AHVLA to set up these local plans

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