Defra announces increased TB testing - NFU position

NFU Vice President Staurt Roberts

Defra has announced that from 2020 they will be increasing the frequency of TB testing in High Risk Areas from every 12 months to every six months.

NFU Vice President Stuart Roberts said:

“Since this change to testing in the High Risk Area was initially proposed in 2017, the disease situation has changed significantly. The latest Defra TB stats show reductions across the board in the High Risk Area of new herd incidence and cattle being slaughtered. Most importantly, there has been a positive trend in the number of TB free herds.

“In light of this, we feel that Defra should re-examine its decision to increase testing before introducing this change. Farmers have made significant, positive contributions to disease control over the past two years and any policy change must be based on the most up-to-date information.

“Significant veterinary and lab resource will be needed to service this change and we need to have reassurance from both professions that they have the capability to cope with the increased demands placed on them.

“The NFU will be engaging with Defra on this as a matter of urgency to seek reassurances that this policy change will be cost effective, practically implemented and is necessary for disease eradication.

“However, the news that Defra will be undertaking research into cattle purchase, movement and biosecurity is positive. Any additional insight that can help better control and eradicate this devastating disease should be welcomed.”

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