TB Test Rules Change

IRELAND - Arrangements for the TB testing of cattle going directly to slaughter have been ammended and come into effect on 4 May.
calendar icon 29 April 2010
clock icon 2 minute read

Previously, animals not tested within the previous 12 months and presented for slaughter were returned to the farm of origin.

The rules are being changed such that cattle would now be accepted by slaughter plants provided that the herd had been tested in the previous 12 months and the animals were otherwise compliant with legislative requirements relating to animal identification and restriction notices.

The Minister for Agriculture, Brendan Smith said that he had made these changes following a review of the current arrangements and in consultation with the European Commission. The Minister said that this change would reduce the cost of testing these cattle and would be extremely beneficial to many farmers.

Explaining the change, Minister Smith said that, while no change is being made to the general rule that all animals in a herd must be tested every 12 months, the rule that requires out of test animals to be rejected at slaughter is no longer critical to ensuring that all herds are tested yearly and that all animals are presented for test.

He said that the risk of onward spread of disease from animals going direct to slaughter is relatively low if the herd has been tested within the previous 12 months and a high proportion of the animals in the herd are in test.

He advised farmers, however, that herds sending out of test animals to slaughter would be restricted from general trade if more than 20 per cent of animals in the herd were found to be out of test (even if the herd itself had been tested within the previous 12 months). He also emphasised that the permit rules for movement of any animals out of restricted herds, including to slaughter, continue to apply.

In addition to the change in arrangements regarding animals sent for slaughter, the Minister said that his Department intends to enhance the controls in place for herds selected for testing under the contiguous testing programme.

Concluding, Minister Smith reminded farmers of the need to test their herds annually and to adopt appropriate biosecurity measures to minimise disease spread, particularly in relation to badgers, and including testing promptly as and when required in order to reduce the risk of an outbreak of TB in their herds.

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