‘Paice announces tightening up of TB cattle controls’

Posted on May 2, 2012

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Today (2nd May), an item was posted on the Farmers Guardian web-site titled ‘Paice announces tightening up of TB cattle controls’.

‘… THE requirements for pre-movement testing of cattle in England are to be stepped up this summer, as part of a range of measures to strengthen bovine TB (bTB) cattle controls.

Farming Minister Jim Paice announced the new measures on Wednesday (May 2) that also includes moves to reduce compensation for outbreaks where TB tests are overdue.

He announced that, from July 1, new rules will:

  • Remove the current exemption allowing cattle held on a farm for under 30 days to be moved without being tested.
  • Remove the pre-movement testing exemption for movements within ‘Sole Occupancy Authorities’ (SOA), which cover linked premises, that have holdings in high and low risk TB areas.
  • Require pre-movement testing for cattle moved from higher TB risk herds to agricultural shows where cattle are housed or held there for more than 24 hours.
  • Reducing compensation for owners of TB affected herds if tests are overdue by more than 60 days.

Mr Paice said the testing rules were being stepped up to reduce the risk of untested animals spreading the disease in the various scenarios covered.

He also announced further changes regarding SOAs to further reduce the risk of TB spreading around linked premises. From July 1:

  • No new Sole Occupancy Authorities will be approved; and
  • No new Cattle Tracing System links between holdings in high and low TB risk areas will be approved, with existing links between high and low risk areas being removed on a phased basis.

Farmers likely to be affected will be contacted.

Additional cattle categories are also being introduced to make the TB compensation system more transparent and to remove some anomalies. A new compensation category will be introduced for young pedigree beef animals, and the dairy calved animals category will be split into two age bands.

Mr Paice said the farming community has shown it is ‘willing to shoulder its share of the burden to tackle bovine TB’.

“We need to stop the spread of bovine TB, that last year led to the slaughter of 26,000 cattle and could cost the taxpayer a billion pounds over the next ten years unless action is taken. These strengthened measures, alongside work to pilot badger culling, and the development of badger and cattle vaccines, aim to help control the disease and eventually eradicate it.

“Farmers have shown their commitment to tackle this devastating disease which is taking a terrible toll on their communities and businesses.”

“There is already a comprehensive range of robust TB in cattle control measures in place, but we must continuously look for ways to tighten them if we are ever going to get on top of this devastating disease.”

Mr Paice signalled that the changes were coming at the NFU conference in February. He revealed that, while the Government was already keen to improve its cattle controls, it had come under intense pressure from Brussels to improve its cattle TB controls.

He said the European Commission was ‘minded’ to reject the Government’s annual TB Eradication plan, which would result in it withholding €30 million (£25.4m) of EU funding for TB controls. “That would have been pretty disastrous,” he said.

At the start of this year, Defra and AHVLA were heavily criticised over the lack of clarity with which they announced changes to cattle controls, including preventing the restocking of farms newly diagnosed as having TB status ‘withdrawn’.

NFU chief farm policy adviser John Royle said the industry understands Defra’s plan to reduce compensation payments where TB tests are significantly overdue but called for continued flexibility to allow tests to be delayed without penalty, particularly for animals away at summer grazing and traced animals, subject to a veterinary risk assessment.

He urged the Government to make further changes to compensation arrangements so the large majority of farmers who already comply fully with the onerous TB control measures in place are ‘properly compensated’.

He also requested that a ‘fair, consistent and transparent appeals process’ is put in place before the measures come in.

“While we fully agree with the need to get on top of and eventually eradicate this disease, we recognise that some of these changes are bound to cause consternation to those farming businesses directly affected by them,” he said.

For full details of the forthcoming changes to cattle controls see http://www.defra.gov.uk/animal-diseases/a-z/bovine-tb/ …’

Read the item and add your comment online at www.farmersguardian.com/home/livestock/paice-announces-tightening-up-of-tb-cattle-controls/46676.article

[Vegans say abandon the exploitation, abuse and slaughter of all animals, and abandon the production and consumption of all animal products.]

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