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Welsh Government announces changes to Bovine TB testing

26 Jun 2024 3 minute read
Cows. Picture by the FUW

Emily Price

The Welsh Government has announced further changes to Bovine tuberculosis (TB) testing in Wales in response to industry feedback.

Cabinet Secretary for Climate Change and Rural Affairs, Huw Irranca-Davies, said the changes will simplify procedures without compromising the risk of disease spread.

He made the announcement ahead of speaking for the first time at the British Veterinary Association Welsh dinner on Wednesday (26 June).

The Welsh Government says the changes have taken into account the resources required by farmers and vets and cost-effectiveness.

The announcement comes a month after the Welsh Government made changes to on-farm slaughter measures around the infectious rispiratory disease commonly spread through badgers and deer.

Farming families, already under financial pressure from TB breakdowns, say they have been reduced to tears due to the harrowing experience of watching their cattle being put down.

The changes to four specific aspects of TB testing in Wales are:

  • The routine testing of calves under 42 days in a TB incident will no longer be carried out – unless the TB risk from these animals is considered high.
  • Routine surveillance testing in Approved Finishing Units (AFUs), or Licensed Finishing Units (LFUs) is ceasing – unless the risk is considered high.
  • Default Skin testing of a cattle herd, following slaughterhouse suspicion alone, will cease to be a requirement.
  • Tracing tests will continue to reduce the risk of TB spread through movements of cattle from TB breakdown herds. However, data analysis of trace tests, currently supports a move away from trace testing of all cattle moved in low risk situations.

Huw Irranca-Davies said: “Since my appointment in March, I have made a point of meeting farmers, vets and others across the industry to listen to their concerns around TB and the burden and anxieties these can cause.

“I’m pleased to be able to announce today that further changes – which have been made in response to industry feedback – are now in place.

“Recognising the impact on farmers, their families and their businesses is at the forefront of my mind.

“Last month I accepted all the Technical Advisory Group’s advice regarding the on-farm slaughter of TB reactors.

“We have worked alongside APHA and already implemented changes to the management of pregnant cattle.

“Our programme for eradicating Bovine TB is centred around partnership working with our farmers and vets, this is crucial to reaching our shared goal of a TB-free Wales.”

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Richard Davies
Richard Davies
19 days ago

There is a clue in the name. It is bovine TB, (bovine meaning COW)
It is a respiratory disease, so is spread from cow to cow as they are kept in sheds in high density.

Badgers are an innocent scapegoat for poor bio-security practices. All mammals, including humans, are possible carriers of BtB!

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
19 days ago

Counter intuitive or BS…!

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