Post-movement TB testing in the Low Risk Area of England

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. 

To reduce the risk of TB-infected cattle moved from higher TB incidence areas of GB transmitting infection to new herds in the Low Risk Area (LRA) of England.

Herd owners are responsible for ensuring they comply with TB testing rules. However, the Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA) sends notification letters to LRA keepers indentified as bringing in animals that need a post-movement test.

Generally it is 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.

You should contact your Veterinary Delivery Partner (VDP), the practice that normally carries out TB testing of your herd, or any other official veterinarian authorised to carry out TB testing.

Yes. Cattle brought into the LRA from other parts of England and Wales must be post-movement tested between 60 and 120 days of arriving in the LRA.

No, except for movements to slaughter or for veterinary treatment. Cattle brought into the LRA cannot be moved to another holding until they have had a post-movement test with negative results.

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 basic farm payments the cattle keeper receives. APHA carries out compliance monitoring of post-movement testing, writing to non-compliant keepers and referring them to the Local Authority. 

No, there are a small number of exemptions. In the following scenarios a post-movement test is not required:

 

  • Cattle slaughtered within 120 days of arriving in the LRA.
  • Cattle moved to/from shows that do not involve a stay of more than 24 hours and where the cattle are not housed at the showground.
  • Cattle going for veterinary treatment in the LRA and cattle arriving back from veterinary treatment outside the LRA.
  • Cattle moved to a Licensed Finishing Unit (LFU).
  • Cattle moved to an exempt market in the LRA.
  • Cattle moved to an approved slaughter gathering (red market) in the LRA.

Cattle moved to LFUs from other parts of England and Wales are exempt from post-movement testing. This is the case if the animals move directly to a LFU, or if they move indirectly to an LFU via another holding in the LRA (provided the cattle are moved to the LFU within 120 days of ‘arriving’ on the LRA holding).

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).

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.

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.

No, the post-movement testing requirement is based on the testing for the area rather than individual herd testing regime, if this differs.

Post-movement testing and agricultural shows

Cattle moved from herds in the LRA of England to non-exempt shows in the rest of England or in Wales will need to be post-movement tested when they return to the home farm in the LRA. A non-exempt show is one that lasts more than 24 hours and/or where the cattle are housed.  

No. The animal cannot move off the farm (except to slaughter or 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.

There is a risk of transmission of 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. APHA has 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.

Post movement testing and markets

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.