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TB testing changes ahead

Early detection important in fight against bTB: Rebecca Evans
Early detection important in fight
against bTB: Rebecca Evans

DEPUTY MINISTER FOR FARMING AND FOOD, Rebecca Evans, has reminded farmers that from December 31 2015, cattle that are moved to or from common land will need to have had a clear Pre-Movement TB Test to reduce the risk of the disease spreading through untested cattle. The changes bring TB testing rules for cattle moved between a holding and common land in line with national TB testing policy. Rebecca Evans said: “Our TB Eradication Programme for Wales is underpinned by the key principles of keeping bovine TB out, finding it fast and stopping it from spreading.

“An essential part of our approach is to find infection early through regular testing. By bringing the testing rules for cattle being moved to and from common land in line with other cattle movements, we are reducing the risk of undetected disease being passed on.” In the 2015 UK TB Eradication Plan, the Welsh Government committed to removing the common land Pre-Movement Testing exemption in line with the European Commission’s concerns about the risk posed by grazing cattle on common land. The acceptance of TB Eradication Plans by the Commission attracts a level of co-financing which offsets some of the costs of the TB Eradication Programme.

If TB testing is not practical on the common and where certain criteria are met, farmers can apply to Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) for a licence to move the cattle back to the main holding where a Post-Movement TB test will be required as soon as possible. Farmers whose main holding is adjacent to the common where they graze cattle can undertake 6 monthly whole herd TB testing instead of Pre- Movement Testing. If this arrangement is more practical, keepers must contact APHA to apply for a necessary licence. Cattle keepers should have already received a letter informing them of the changes. If you have not received a letter or if you have any questions, contact APHA on 0300 303 8268.