TB Control Efforts Yielding Results, Tighter Rules Still Needed

UK – Measures taken to combat bovine tuberculosis (TB) in cattle are beginning to have an impact on new herd infections, says the government.
calendar icon 13 June 2014
clock icon 2 minute read

The number of new herds with TB is at its lowest point for ten years, a sign that the ‘devastating’ disease is coming under control, according to Farming Minister George Eustice.

In a release which coincided with news of a consultation process on TB control and prevention, DEFRA noted the most recent monthly incidence rate had fallen to 3.25 per cent.

This is the lowest rate since 2004 and follows a February figure of 3.5 per cent.

However, Mr Eustice warned against complacency.

“The impact of bovine TB on our cattle farmers, their families and their communities cannot be overstated,” he said. “That is why must do everything we can to reach our aim of making the whole of England TB free.”

The consultation proposes a removal of Sole Occupancy Authorities, which will end the exemption of several farms under common ownership from pre-movement rules.

This would mean cattle in high risk and edge areas could not be moved without being TB tested.
Farmers would still be able to move cattle ten miles between areas of owned land.

Rules will also tighten regarding the partial de-restriction of TB-breakdown holdings.

The government advised: “This means that from that date movement restrictions will apply to all cattle on a farm until all the animals have achieved officially TB free status.

“There are a number of options available to cattle keepers to help manage the impacts of this change.

“For example cattle farmers with separate cattle management groups could consider registering some cattle under a separate county parish holding so that if TB is found in just one group the number of cattle subject to movement restrictions could be limited.”

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