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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Last edited on: 21:06:2019

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  • Posted by: Robert HelliwellPosted on: 26/06/2019 19:14:15

    Comment: I find it hard to accept yet further testing in the HRA when over the county border herds are on 4yr testing where cattle could potentially go untested for many years if they are sold on before the four year test. LRA should be on a 2yr test if the HRA is to be on 6mth test or there should be serious thought given to pre movement testing in the LRA.
  • Posted by: peter gantlettPosted on: 26/06/2019 19:20:55

    Comment: Relief ; Having recently gone clear after years and years of restrictions and testing , the prospect of going to 12mth testing may seem to some a welcome change, however the thought that a reactor could go so long undetected is quite worrying , so testing at 6mths is a sensible move
  • Posted by: CAROL PLEDGEPosted on: 27/06/2019 11:00:47

    Comment: DEFRA can test and cull as often as they like but that will never rid or reduce bTB incidence, the only thing that will is a reduction in the number of infected badgers and badger setts. With no stopping up of infected setts, clean badgers are just getting infected all the time and continue to infect cattle. The cull on its own will not be effective all be it, a slight reduction hopefully may be seen. The badger population is so overpopulated that any empty des. res. will soon be inhabited. The strategy worked in the 70's & early 80's and is the only solution now. All people who influence the bTB policy need to see that. The science is there it has got to be put in practice. My cattle have proved this & no amount of biosecurity & testing will stop the contamination of the fields.

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