Farmers oppose plans for mandatory 30-day pre-movement TB tests
The Department of Agriculture has plans to implement mandatory TB testing for cattle 30 days before they move out of herds with a high risk of TB.
The department’s draft ‘Ten Year Roadmap to Reduce TB and Drive Towards Eradication 2020-2030’ outlines that herds which have a history of several breakdowns, or a large extended breakdown, are at a higher risk of recurrence of TB after they go clear, and also present a higher risk to neighbouring herds.
The document which is in its draft stage goes on to say that cattle sold from these herds also present a greater risk of transmitting disease to other herds.
The department says it will provide “enhanced support” to these herds. This would include a tailored TB risk management plan for each of these herds individually, which would be designed by a vet who is familiar with the herd.
Another measure would include a requirement that cattle moving out of these herds would be tested within 30 days before movement in order to address the risk of undetected infection spreading to the recipient herd.
For ‘inconclusives’ – cattle which get an inconclusive skin test, the document outlines that these cattle are at a higher risk of being detected as infected in the future, even if the inconclusives are retained in the herd for a period of years.
The department’s planned TB strategy would include using the blood test on inconclusives, whereby all such cattle will be blood tested shortly after their first inconclusive skin test, and if passed, blood testing would continue at regular intervals while the animal is in the herd.
The department will hold meetings this week with the stakeholders on the TB Forum to discuss this strategy.
The IFA and ICSA have come out in opposition to these plans.
IFA Animal Health Chairman Pat Farrell said a 30-day pre-movement test would “severely distort the marketing of animals and place an extra cost burden on the programme, while doing little or nothing to reduce TB.
“We need to address the real causes of TB, not put another wheel under the TB testing gravy train.”
ICSA said they will not engage in meetings unless the TB Strategy is built on the principle that there will be financial supports in place.