Bovine TB testing intervals, 2017
- Animal and Plant Health Agency
- 25 November 2016
- Applies to:
- England, Scotland, and Wales
Guidance for cattle keepers on the bovine TB surveillance testing intervals for areas in England, Wales and Scotland for 2017.
All keepers of cattle, buffalo or bison are required by law to have their animals tested for bovine TB at prescribed intervals which must reflect the regional risks of bovine TB and comply with EU legislation.
There are different TB testing intervals in England, Scotland and Wales.
To find out the testing interval for 2017 for your area, use the TB testing interval search tool or see the lists of counties and parishes for England, Scotland and Wales.
A GB map of the TB testing intervals for 2017 (PDF, 3.04MB, 1 page) is also available.
The TB testing intervals in place in England since January 2015 will remain the same for 2017 in the Low and High Risk Areas.
TB testing intervals are based on the level of disease risk.
The default TB testing interval of herds in the Low Risk Area is 4 years.
Herds in the High Risk Area are tested annually.
The extension and testing intervals of the Edge Area will be reviewed during 2017, please see https://consult.defra.gov.uk/bovine-tb/enhancements-to-hra-edge/.
|Current High Risk Area||Current Edge Area||Low Risk Area|
|Annual testing||Annual testing/Six-monthly testing||Four-yearly testing|
|Derbyshire (Part)||Cheshire (Part) six-monthly||Cleveland|
|Devon||Derbyshire (Part)||Co. Durham|
|Dorset||East Sussex (Part)||Cumbria|
|East Sussex (Part)||Hampshire (Part)||Essex|
|Hereford & Worcester||Northamptonshire||Greater Manchester|
|Somerset||Warwickshire (Part)||Isle Of Wight|
|Staffordshire||Isles of Scilly|
|Tyne & Wear|
Herds in the Low Risk Area (and currently also in the Edge Area of Derbyshire) that are located within a 3km radius of a lesion- or culture-positive TB breakdown herd are temporarily subjected to more intensive TB testing. This enhanced TB surveillance regime is commonly known as ‘radial testing’.
In November/December 2016 all cattle keepers in England will receive a letter from APHA explaining the default testing interval in their area and the TB testing interval for their herd.
APHA will then only write to individual keepers if there are changes to a herd’s testing interval and to explain the reason for the change.
All cattle keepers with an annual or six-monthly testing interval, including those whose herds are undergoing radial testing in the Low Risk Area, must also comply with statutory pre-movement testing requirements, unless an exemption applies to the animal being moved or the type of movement. See the guidance on pre-movement and post-movement testing.
Cattle keepers in the Low Risk Area of England which moved cattle form the annual or more frequent testing areas of England and from Wales must also comply with post-movement testing requirements. See the guidance on pre-movement and post-movement testing.
See the England TB testing intervals list (PDF, 666KB, 261 pages) .
TB testing intervals policy (England) 2017 (PDF, 73.9KB, 2 pages)
Setting TB testing intervals in England in 2017 (PDF, 90.2KB, 3 pages)
Up to 2008, the testing frequency of herds in Wales ranged between annual testing and four-yearly testing.
As a result of the findings of TB Health Check Wales, the annual herd TB testing regime was introduced to maintain a high level of surveillance. Cattle are also required to have a pre-movement test (PrMT) before they can be moved from a Welsh farm (although there are some exemptions).
This has remained the same across Wales since January 2010 regardless of the regional disease situation. Herds in the Intensive Action Area (IAA) are tested twice yearly as part of the additional cattle controls in place in this area.
See the Wales TB testing intervals list (PDF, 83.8KB, 31 pages) .
Consultation on refreshing TB Eradication Programme
In October 2016, the Welsh Government’s Cabinet Secretary, Lesley Griffiths, made a statement on the refreshed TB Eradication Programme which included information on a new regionalised approach to tackling bovine TB in Wales.
Low, Intermediate and High TB Areas will be established across Wales based on bovine TB incidence levels. This will allow the Welsh Government to tailor different disease control and prevention approaches in each of the areas.
This will include a new approach for TB testing based on risk. A 12 week consultation on proposals to eradicate TB was launched, which closes on 10 January 2017.
Cattle keepers in Wales will only be written to if their TB testing interval changes.
Scotland has been designated officially TB free (OTF) since September 2009. As a result, changes were introduced to exempt low risk herds from the default routine testing interval of 48 months that applies to all other non-exempt herds.
Low risk herds must fully comply with one of the following:
- herds with fewer than 50 cattle (this increase from 20 to 50 cattle will apply from 1 January 2017) which have had fewer than 2 consignments of cattle moved on from high incidence TB areas (including Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland) in the previous 4 years
- herds that slaughter more than 25% of their stock annually and have had fewer than 2 consignments of cattle moved on from high incidence TB areas (including Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland) in the previous 4 years
- herds that slaughter more than 40% of their stock annually
Slaughtered animals are animals that have been on the holding for at least 60 days and that move either direct from the farm to slaughterhouse, or directly from the farm to market and then directly to the slaughterhouse.
It does not include animals moving on to another holding temporarily between market and slaughterhouse.
The slaughter rate is calculated on the total number of cattle slaughtered in a slaughterhouse in the previous calendar year divided by the herd size (total stock on farm on 1 January).
APHA annually assesses each individual herd’s eligibility for exemption from TB testing, and will write to all cattle keepers in Scotland to confirm whether or not their herd is exempt.
See the Scotland TB testing intervals list (PDF, 60.5KB, 22 pages) .
For further information about bovine TB control and surveillance in Scotland, see the Scottish Government website.
Published: 25 November 2016