Tighter controls are being introduced in Scotland on the import of cattle to ensure the nation’s stock remains TB free.
The new pre-movement testing requirements apply to cattle coming to Scotland from a TB high incidence area, including those coming from a low incidence TB area that have been in a high incidence TB area in any time of their life.
NFU Scotland Vice President Alasdair Macnab said:
“Scottish cattle keepers are proud of Scotland’s Officially TB Free status (OTF) and remain committed to keeping TB out of Scotland.
“NFUS welcomes Scottish Government’s commitment to continually reviewing the processes in place to protect Scotland’s cattle herd and to make sure they remain fit for purpose.
“The changes to the pre-movement test requirements and improved clarity around isolation are being introduced following a consultation process and should offer increased confidence to keepers.
“NFUS urges Scottish cattle keepers to remain aware that the greatest risk of introducing TB into Scotland is from cattle movements, and to continue to ensure their sourcing policies will minimise the risk to their own holding and the national herd.”
From 18 May, changes to legislation will come into force which will require stricter pre-movement testing of cattle, adding extra precautions for animals coming from areas of higher risk of infection.
In addition, compensation will be reduced for any unclean cattle slaughtered for TB control purposes. This will incentivise farmers to keep their animals clean and promote better animal health and welfare.
A new definition for isolation will also be introduced, and compensation will be reduced for cattle which are not properly isolated. This will strengthen the protection of the main herd against onward spread of infection from any reactors or suspect reactors.
Rural Affairs Secretary in the Scottish Government Mairi Gougeon said:
“Although Scotland is officially TB free, cases do still occur – and breakdowns are extremely disruptive, upsetting and distressing for cattle owners.
“We are committed to maintaining Scotland’s low TB infection rates and OTF status, which is crucial to the success of our cattle industry.
“These legislative changes are part of a comprehensive, practical and proportionate programme of measures to minimise the risks from all potential sources of infection and reduce the risk of disease spread as far as possible.
“Guidance on TB is available on the Scottish Government’s website and we will ensure farmers are kept up to date with the situation in Scotland. We will continue to support farmers affected by TB in partnership with the Animal and Plant Health Agency.”
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