TB isolation units (TBIU) can only be approved by the Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA) in England and Wales. They provide an outlet for calves or store cattle from TB-restricted holdings lacking the facilities for rearing.
TBIUs can only source cattle from a single TB-restricted holding over a limited period of time for filling. Once in the unit, animals have to undergo a TB testing regime in order to regain officially TB free (OTF) status. Once cattle in the TBIU have regained OTF status through an appropriate testing regime, movement restrictions can be lifted. Alternatively, cattle may be slaughtered or sent to an Approved Finishing Unit (AFU) under licence.
Summary of conditions for approval and operation of TBIUs in England and Wales
The following general conditions apply to TBIUs in England and Wales:
- Can be approved in the High Risk Area (HRA), Edge Area and Low Risk Area (LRA) of England, and the High and Intermediate TB Area Mid in Wales.
- In the LRA of England, TBIUs are only approved on an ad hoc basis, to assist a specific TB breakdown in the LRA.
- Not intended for pregnant animals and no breeding should take place within TBIUs.
- Cannot to be used for isolation of single animals.
- Can only be approved on OTF premises and must be clearly separate from any other cattle on the premises.
- Must be registered under a unique permanent County Parish Holding (CPH) number.
- The unit cannot have a temporary CPH (tCPH) or Temporary Land Association (TLA) registered against it.
- Must be placed under TB movement restrictions (TB02) prior to receiving any cattle and until all cattle in the unit have qualified for OTF status.
- Units with grazing (England only) can only be considered in the HRA, and only where M. bovis infection is believed to be endemic in the local wildlife.
- TBIUs with grazing cannot be approved in the Edge Area or LRA in England, or in Wales.
- Can only source cattle from a single TB-restricted holding over a limited period of time for filling (maximum of six weeks).
- All cattle moving into the unit must have been tested for TB with negative results in the 60 days prior to entering the unit, with the exception of calves under 42 days of age at the time of movement.
- Strict biosecurity protocols must be in place, including wildlife proofing and protocols for movements of personnel and equipment between the unit and other cattle under the same ownership.
Source of cattle for TBIUs
TB IUs can only source cattle under licence from a single TB-restricted holding. A period of up to six weeks is allowed to fill the unit. Once the unit is filled, or six weeks after the first cattle movement on, no further movements on are permitted before the unit has regained OTF status or depopulated and re-approval requested.
TB testing of cattle in TBIUs
When cattle are moved into a TBIU, there are implications for the origin breakdown herd in terms of when it can become eligible for OTF status. This depends on the number of tests completed by the origin herd at the time the animals move into the TBIU, and the results of testing in the TBIU.
Once the TBIU is filled, usually cattle must have at least two consecutive negative skin tests at severe interpretation before OTF status can be achieved, regardless of the status of the origin herd.
Application for approval of a TBIU in England and Wales
To apply to APHA for approval of a TBIU, you need to read the guidance notes and complete the application form, both available on GOV.UK. Please make sure that you supply all the relevant supporting documents (e.g. site plan), otherwise your application may be delayed. If you need help completing the application form, or require more information:
- In England, contact the Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301 and select the option for APHA and then bovine TB. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org
- In Wales, contact APHA Wales on 0300 303 8268 and reference AFU application help or email email@example.com
APHA will assess your application form and may need to contact you for additional information. An APHA vet will then visit the unit to check that the terms and conditions of approval and operation can be met. If the visit is satisfactory then APHA will approve the unit. If the terms and conditions cannot be met then, APHA will explain the reasons why, and what needs to be done to approve the unit.
A unique CPH number will be issued for the TBIU by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) in England or Rural Payments Wales (RPW) once the unit has been approved. APHA will guide you through the application process and it’s important that you retain all documentation relating to your application.