New measures to strengthen bovine TB controls
In a new consultation, the Government is proposing further measures to strengthen the UK’s bovine TB cattle controls, as follows:
The removal of pre-movement exemptions for cattle moving between several holdings under the same farm ownership, known as Sole Occupancy Authorities. This will remove the possibility of some cattle keepers in the high risk and edge areas moving their animals over long distances without any TB testing. There will still be the ability to move cattle between areas of owned land within 10 miles.
Since 1st January 2014 owners of herds who fail to complete their TB surveillance test on time risk seeing their CAP scheme payment reduced, even if the test is delayed by only one day. The consultation sets out plans to extend this approach to include TB tests in restricted herds.
In related news, Defra has confirmed that from 1st October 2014 it will no longer allow the partial de-restriction of TB-breakdown holdings – from that date movement restrictions will apply to all cattle on a farm until all the animals have achieved officially TB-free status.
Latest bovine TB statistics show that the monthly incidence rate (the proportion of new outbreaks discovered through testing) was around 3.25% in March. This is the lowest rate since 2004 and follows a similarly low rate in February of 3.5%.