Guidance

Bovine TB testing intervals, 2018

Guidance for cattle keepers on the bovine TB surveillance testing intervals for areas in England, Wales and Scotland for 2018.

All keepers of cattle, buffalo or bison are required by law to have their animals tested for bovine TB as part of prescribed regimes which must reflect the regional risks of bovine TB and comply with EU legislation.

There are obligations under the relevant TB orders and cross compliance legislation to carry out TB tests within the time frame stipulated by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).

Failure to complete TB testing on time may result in movement restrictions being applied.

If tests become overdue, APHA must notify the paying agencies of these breaches.

Overdue tests may be considered an intentional breach, which carries a significant reduction of any CAP Scheme payments governed by cross compliance.

There are different TB testing intervals in England, Scotland and Wales.

To find out the 2018 testing interval 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 2018 (PDF, 758KB, 1 page) is also available.

England

TB testing intervals are based on the regional level of disease risk.

The default TB testing interval for herds in the Low Risk Area is 4 yearly, and for herds in the High Risk Area is annual.

Default testing intervals in the Edge Area will be modified from 1 January 2018, please see the TB Hub for further information.

High Risk Area Edge Area Edge Area Low Risk Area
Annual testing Six-monthly testing Annual testing Four-yearly testing
Avon Berkshire (part) Berkshire (part) Bedfordshire
Cornwall Cheshire Buckinghamshire Cambridgeshire
Devon Derbyshire (Part) Derbyshire (Part) Cambridgeshire
Dorset Hampshire (Part) East Sussex Cleveland
Gloucestershire Oxfordshire Hampshire (Part) Co. Durham
Hereford & Worcester Warwickshire Leicestershire Cumbria
Shropshire   Northamptonshire Essex
Somerset   Nottinghamshire Greater London
Staffordshire     Greater Manchester
West Midlands     Hertfordshire
Wiltshire     Humberside
      Isle of Wight
      Isles of Scilly
      Kent
      Lancashire
      Lincolnshire
      Merseyside
      Norfolk
      Northumberland
      North Yorkshire
      South Yorkshire
      Suffolk
      Surrey
      Tyne & Wear
      West Sussex
      West Yorkshire

Herds in the Low Risk Area and annual testing parts of the Edge Area within a 3km radius of a lesion and/or culture positive TB breakdown herd will temporarily have more intensive TB testing. This enhanced TB surveillance regime is commonly known as ‘radial testing’.

In winter 2017/2018, APHA will notify all affected cattle keepers in the Edge Area of these changes in writing.

APHA will only write to individual keepers if there are changes to their area or herd testing interval explaining the reason for the change.

All cattle keepers on an annual or 6-monthly testing interval must also comply with statutory pre-movement testing requirements, unless an exemption applies to the animal being moved or the type of movement. This includes any such herds in the Low Risk Area, for example, herds undergoing radial testing.

See the guidance on pre-movement and post-movement testing.

Cattle keepers in the Low Risk Area of England who moved cattle from the annual or more frequent testing areas of England and 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, 737KB, 281 pages) .

Further information

Wales

Following the results of the TB Health Check Wales in 2008, the annual herd TB testing regime was introduced to maintain a high level of disease surveillance.

Annual herd testing has remained 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.

Wales TB Eradication Programme: launched 1 October 2017

Following a 12 week consultation with industry in 2016, the Welsh Government’s strengthened TB Programme commits to a regionalized approach to eradicating TB in Wales.

Low, Intermediate and High TB Areas were established on 1 October 2017 based on disease incidence.

Enhanced measures will be applied in each TB Area tailored to protect the Low TB Area from disease and reduce the level of disease in the Intermediate and High TB Areas.

See the Welsh Government website for a map of the new TB areas.

All existing cattle keepers have been informed which TB area their holding is in.

Whole herd annual TB testing will continue across the whole of Wales except in the Intensive Action Area (IAA) where 6 monthly testing will continue.

See the Wales TB testing intervals list (PDF, 87.9KB, 31 pages) .

All cattle keepers must comply with statutory pre-movement testing requirements unless an exemption applies to the animal being moved or the type of movement.

As part of the TB Eradication Programme, most movements from herds in the Low TB Area will be exempt from this requirement unless the herd:

  • is in a TB breakdown
  • had a TB breakdown in the last 18 months, or
  • is subject to a programme of contiguous testing due to a TB breakdown nearby.

Cattle keepers in the Low TB Area of Wales which move cattle from herds located in the Intermediate and High TB Areas of Wales, the High Risk or Edge Areas of England or from Northern Ireland must also comply with post-movement testing requirements.

Until the animals moved into the Low TB Area have had a post-movement test (60-120 days after the movement), keepers will not be able to trade these animals, other than moving them to slaughter, a slaughter market, an Approved Finishing Unit, or a Licensed Finishing Unit (Wales).

See the Wales TB Eradication Programme Delivery Plan for further guidance on these changes, and others outlined in the new programme

Scotland

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 regime 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 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 onto 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) .

See the Scottish Government website for further information about bovine TB control and surveillance in Scotland.

Published 27 November 2017