About Bovine TB
Testing & movements
On 6 April 2016 compulsory post-movement testing was introduced in the Low Risk Area (LRA) of England for cattle moved from other areas of England and Wales.
Q1. Why has this policy been introduced?
A1. To further reduce the risk that TB-infected cattle moved from higher TB incidence areas of GB could transmit the disease to new herds in the Low Risk Area (LRA) of England. This measure was strongly supported by stakeholders, including cattle keepers in the LRA, in our TB cattle measures consultation carried out in 2015.
Q2. I am a cattle keeper in the LRA, will I be notified if/when I need to complete a post-movement test?
A2. Herd owners are responsible for ensuring they comply with TB testing rules. However, APHA has sent notification letters, since November 2016, to LRA keepers indentified as bringing in animals that need a post-movement test.
Q3. Who pays for a post-movement test?
A3. Generally it will be the person who brings cattle into the LRA from higher TB risk areas. However, a government-funded whole-herd TB surveillance test can be used as a post-movement test if the timing works.
Q4. Can I bring forward/move my herd TB test to cover the POSTMT requirements?
Q5. I need to arrange a post-movement test, how do I do that?
A5. You should contact your TB test delivery partner, the practice that normally performs the TB tests in your herd, or any other official veterinarian authorised to carry out TB testing.
Q6. Is there a deadline for completing a post-movement test?
A6. Yes. Cattle brought in to the LRA from other parts of England and Wales must be post-movement tested between 60 and 120 days of arriving in the LRA.
Q7. Can cattle brought into the LRA from other parts of England and Wales be moved on and post- movement tested at the ‘new’ holding?
A7. No, except for movements to slaughter or for veterinary treatment, cattle brought into the LRA cannot be moved on until they have had a post-movement test with negative results.
Q8. What happens if a cattle keeper fails to post-movement test (either deliberately or inadvertently)?
A8. Restrictions will be placed on their herd until all the moved animals have been tested with negative results. The post-movement TB test will be regarded as overdue, which may trigger cross-compliance penalties (i.e. reductions to any CAP scheme payments the cattle keeper receives).
Q9. What happens if cattle have been moved off to a new herd before having their required post-movement test (either deliberately or inadvertently)?
A9. This would constitute an offence under the Animal Health Act, enforcement action may be taken against the owner of the herd that had moved cattle off without the legally required post-movement test. Furthermore, APHA will trace the animals to their new holding and place them under restrictions until tested for TB with negative results (unless they had been sent to slaughter, of course). APHA may instruct a skin check test in the first herd of destination in the LRA, depending on the test (or post-mortem) results in the moved animals.
Q10. Do all cattle moved into the LRA from other parts of England and Wales require a post-movement test?
A10. No, there are a small number of exemptions. In the following scenarios a post-movement test is NOT required:
Q11. Are movements to LFUs exempt from post-movement testing?
A11. Cattle moved to LFUs from other parts of England and Wales are exempt from post-movement testing. This is the case if i) the animals move directly to a LFU or ii) they move indirectly to a LFU via another holding in the LRA (provided the cattle are moved to the LFU within 120 days of ‘arriving’ on the LRA holding).
Q12. Would bulls moved from AI centres outside of the LRA to holdings (home premises or another AI Centre) in the LRA need post movement testing?
Q13. I bring in young calves to the LRA from other parts of England and Wales, do these need to be post-movement tested?
A13. Yes, a post-movement test must be completed within 60 and 120 days of arrival – by that time the calves will be eligible for TB testing, even if calves under 42 days are not pre-movement TB tested. Animals must remain on the holding until the test is completed, unless exemptions apply (see above).
Q14. Will cattle originating in the LRA, but sold at a livestock market outside the LRA, need to be post-movement tested if they are sold to a buyer who then moves them back into the LRA?
A14. No, not if the moves to and from the livestock market are direct (i.e. they do not involve a stay at another holding outside the LRA on their way to or from the market).
Q15. Will cattle originating outside the LRA that are sold at a livestock market in the LRA need to be post-movement tested if they are sold to a buyer who then moves them to a holding outside the LRA?
A15. Not if the move from the livestock market is direct (i.e. it does not involve a stay at another holding inside the LRA on their way from the market).
Q16. My cattle herd is located in the LRA, but on annual routine TB surveillance testing and/or temporarily subject to radial testing. Must cattle moved from my herd be post-movement tested?
A16. No, the post-movement testing requirement is based on the testing for the area rather than individual herd testing regime, if this differs.
Q17. In relation to show visits when will cattle need to be post-movement tested?
A17. Cattle moved from herds in the Low Risk Area of England (LRA) to non-exempt shows in the rest of England or in Wales (n.b. a non-exempt show is one that lasts more than 24 hours and/or where the cattle are housed) will need to be post-movement tested when they return to the home farm in the LRA.
Q18. Can cattle go to other shows before the completion of a post-movement test?
A18. No. The animal cannot move off the farm (except to slaughter and for veterinary treatment) until that test has been completed with negative results. LRA cattle keepers who wish to send stock to multiple shows held in other parts of England or Wales may defer the post-movement test by keeping their animals outside of the LRA between shows.
Q19. Why are controls on movements of cattle to shows considered necessary?
A19. There is a risk of transmission of bovine TB between cattle at shows, either directly (through airborne spread or nose-to-nose contact) or indirectly (via equipment and the environment). The risk is likely to be higher in an enclosed environment or where cattle from different herds are kept on the showground for extended periods of time, relative to that posed by open-air shows and where cattle return to their herds of origin within 24 hours. We have identified TB breakdowns in the LRA in cattle herds where the most likely route of transmission was regular show attendance by cattle from the herd. Visiting shows is a risk for disease spread and we want to reduce that risk by post-movement testing.
Q20. Will Defra waive the post-movement requirement on a show by show basis if the show organisers can offer an alternative arrangement to mitigate the TB risks?
A20. No. That was a measure adopted by Defra for last year only to help those show organisers unprepared for the introduction of post-movement testing (i.e. they had insufficient time to adapt) and where, as a consequence, the viability of the show was threatened.
Q21. What about cattle moved to shows in the LRA from herds in other parts of England and Wales?
A21. We do not envisage cattle travelling to shows in the LRA – which are required to have been pre-movement tested – having to be post-movement tested before they return home. A General Licence allows the movement back to the home premises straight after the show without a further test. This General Licence also allows the movement of such cattle straight from the show in to holdings in LRA where the post-movement test requirement will fully apply.
Q22. If animals moving from the LRA to multiple shows are taken to Isolation Units in the LRA in between shows, does this exempt them from the need to POSTMT after each show?
A22. No. Show Isolation Units are approved under other legislation in relation to the 6 days standstill and not to TB controls.
Q23. Will cattle originating in the LRA, but sold at a livestock market outside the LRA, need to be post-movement tested if they are sold to a buyer who then moves them back into the LRA?
A23. No. A post-movement test would not be required if the moves to and from the livestock market are direct (i.e. they do not involve a stay at another holding outside the LRA on their way to or from the market).
Q24. Will cattle sold at a livestock market in the LRA but originating from herds in other parts of England and Wales need to be post-movement tested if they are sold to someone who moves them to a holding outside the LRA?
A24. No, not if the move from the livestock market does not involve a stay at another holding inside the LRA on their way from the market.
Q.25 If animals are housed or at a market for longer than 24 hours must they be post-movement tested?
> Click here for more information about testing areas in England.
Note: This note is intended to act as a guide to raise awareness of the planned introduction of post-movement testing of cattle in England. It does not constitute legal advice, nor is it a substitute for obtaining legal advice.