Changes To Bovine TB Testing

SCOTLAND, UK - Adjustments are being made to routine herd testing for bovine tuberculosis (TB) in Scotland as the second anniversary of official TB freedom (OTF) is reached.
calendar icon 5 October 2011
clock icon 2 minute read

Herds which meet certain risk criteria will now be exempt from four yearly routine herd testing for bovine TB.

The changes, which aim to reduce the burden on industry, are backed by recent research by Glasgow University into long-term options for more effective TB surveillance in Scotland.

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said: "The move to a more risk based testing programme aims to share the benefits of having OTF status with the industry and better target resources in the current economic climate. This is the next step towards achieving more effective, targeted TB surveillance across Scotland while still protecting our prized OTF status."

This change will affect herds that are due to have completed a routine herd test on or after 1 January, 2012 and herd owners and their private veterinary surgeons will be notified individually by letter.

The first letters were issued by the Animal Health and Welfare Veterinary Laboratory Agency (AHVLA) last week, ahead of the TB testing window beginning on 2 October.

The exemption criteria which determine whether a herd is 'low risk' and is therefore exempt from routine herd testing are as follows:

  • Herds of fewer than 20 cattle with no more than one consignment of cattle moved on from a high risk area in the previous four years
  • Herds where 25 per cent or more of the stock are slaughtered annually, and with no more than one consignment of cattle moved on from a high risk area in the previous four years
  • Herds where more than 40 per cent of the stock is slaughtered annually, over a four year period

Eligibility for exempt status will reassessed annually.

The new approach will mean that roughly 35 per cent of Scottish cattle herds will become exempt from routine four yearly TB testing, with significant savings for both industry and government, while maintaining targeted testing with pre-and post movement testing of cattle coming to Scotland from high incidence TB areas and full investigations of any new breakdowns, including testing traced animals.

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