Compensation for TB reactors in England

England, Scotland and Wales have different legislation and systems for TB compensation. The system of compensation applied depends on where the cattle were TB tested. For example, if the keeper’s main holding is in England, but the cattle were tested over the border in Wales, any compensation due would be determined by Welsh legislation.

Compensation tables, both current and historical, can be found on GOV.UK.

Compensation payments 

Defra provides compensation under the Cattle Compensation (England) Order 2019 for cattle compulsorily slaughtered for disease control purposes. Animals classed as TB reactors or direct contacts are compulsorily slaughtered and compensation is paid to the owner. A direct contact (DC) is an animal that, although has not tested positive for TB, has been in contact with known infected animals and is slaughtered for disease control purposes. 

Yes. Compensation is paid provided that the animals are appropriately tagged and their identification documents are in order. Compensation is only payable for animals which comply with the Cattle Identification Regulations 2007, including the requirement for cattle to be identified by means of ear tags and a passport.

Valuations for compensation payments in England follow a table based system in the vast majority of cases. Compensation is based on the average market price for the specific bovine category on the relevant date. The relevant date determines which set of monthly tables is used for calculating the compensation. For animals slaughtered for bovine TB, the relevant date is:

 

  • For skin test reactors – the date on which a positive or 2xIR result for the animal was read (i.e. day two of the skin test).
  • For interferon-gamma test positive animals – the date on which the blood sample was taken.  

 

The categories are based on the animal’s age, sex, pedigree status and type (e.g. beef or dairy). This is calculated from either:

 

  • The previous month’s average prices for non-pedigree animals of the same category.
  • The previous six months average prices for pedigree animals of the same category.

 

All cattle on Approved Finishing Units (AFU/AFUE), Licensed Finishing Units (LFU) and Exempt Finishing Units (EFU) are destined for slaughter only and have no breeding potential. Therefore they are classified as commercial type. Compensation tables, both current and historical, can be found on GOV.UK.

Compensation is paid to the owner after the slaughter and post-mortem inspection of the reactor/DC. Payments can take up to six weeks after slaughter to process.

Individual valuations are used where there is no table valuation figure provided for a specific category, for example if not enough sales data for a particular type of cattle has been gathered that month. Individual valuations are also used for buffalo and bison as table valuations cover cattle only. Usually an individual valuation is made by a valuer selected by the Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA), whose appointment is agreed by both the owner and APHA.

For an animal to fall within a pedigree category for TB valuation purposes, it must be entered into the main section of a breeding book and have received a zootechnical certificate from a recognised breed society. Checks are made by APHA to confirm whether a pedigree certificate has been issued by the breed society. The full definition of a pedigree animal is contained in the The Cattle Compensation (England) Order 2019.

 

Where access to the breed pedigree certificate is not available at the time of valuation, the owner must provide a copy of the certificate to APHA by fax, email or post. The pedigree certificate must pre-date the relevant TB test results and be received within 10 calendar days of the reading date of the TB test. If no certificate is received within this time, the commercial value will be paid. Cows in the process of being graded-up (i.e. recently registered with the herd society, sired by a pedigree bull but born to non-pedigree, unregistered dams and therefore without full pedigree certification) will be valued as non-pedigree stock. Any certificate bearing the words ‘Supplementary Register’ does not count as full pedigree certification.  

Owners taking up the option of private slaughter forgo compensation payable by Defra, taking instead a payment from their slaughterhouse operator for the meat value of the carcase, known as salvage payment. However from November 2018, if a privately slaughtered animal is totally condemned due to TB, Defra will pay full compensation for that animal. The official veterinarian (OV) at the slaughterhouse may totally condemn a carcase for reasons of TB if visible lesions are found at more than one site, and as such it cannot be used for human consumption. Roughly 6% of carcases of animals removed for TB control purposes are totally condemned.

Reductions to compensation payments 

In England, compensation payments may be reduced in the following circumstances. Where compensation is reduced, the Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA) notifies the keeper in writing of this decision.

Reductions to compensation payments are applied to TB reactors found at tests that have become overdue by more than 60 days after their due date. The percentage reductions applied are;

 

  • Overdue test by more than 60 days up to 90 days –25% reduction
  • Overdue test by more than 90 days up to 180 days – 50% reduction
  • Overdue test over 180 days – 95% reduction

A 50% reduction in compensation is applied for animals moved into a TB breakdown herd that are subsequently removed as TB reactors or direct contacts before the herd regains officially TB free (OTF) status. Approved Finishing Units (AFU/AFUE), Licensed Finishing Units (LFU) and TB Isolation Units (TBIU) are exempt from this reduction. Any herd registered to a bovine TB health scheme accredited under the Cattle Health Certification Standards (CHeCS), where membership was granted prior to loss of OTF status, is also exempt.

Unclean cattle at slaughter are a public health risk. If cattle are contaminated with faeces at the time of slaughter, there is a risk that the meat could become contaminated during the dressing process with harmful bacteria such as SalmonellaE.coli O157 and Campylobacter. Research has shown that the dirtier the hide, the greater the potential for carcase contamination and the higher the risk to human health. Wet hides may also increase the risk of bacteria being transferred more readily.

 

Animals removed for TB control purposes must meet the same standards of cleanliness that are applied to all other animals sent for slaughter. A 50% reduction in compensation is applied for reactor cattle/direct contacts (DC) that cannot be processed for human consumption at a slaughterhouse because they are unclean. Cattle that are too dirty for slaughter not only represent a public health risk, but can also be indicative of animal welfare issues on the farm of origin. On-farm welfare investigations may be triggered by APHA when considered appropriate. For further guidance, see the Clean Livestock Policy.

Reduction in compensation for cattle moved into a TB breakdown herd

To enhance TB controls by incentivising herd owners to take actions to reduce the risk of purchased cattle becoming infected e.g. by isolating them from the rest of the herd where possible.

From 1 November 2018. The 50% compensation reduction applies to animals moved into TB breakdown herds from 1 November 2018 that are subsequently removed for TB control purposes prior to the herd regaining OTF status. It does not apply to animals moved into TB breakdown herds prior to this date.

This compensation measure has no implications for a significant majority of TB-affected herd owners. In 2016, less than 1% of herds brought in cattle which later became TB reactors. 

No. The compensation reduction only applies to animals moved into the herd during an ongoing TB breakdown that are subsequently removed as TB reactors or DCs prior to the herd regaining OTF status. It does not apply to animals moved in before or after the ongoing TB breakdown.

Yes. The reduction applies to animals subject to table based valuation and individual valuation. Individual valuations are used for less than 1% of animals removed for TB control purposes.

APHA uses the Cattle Tracing System (CTS) to perform checks on cattle slaughtered for TB control purposes to ascertain whether they were moved onto the holding during an ongoing TB breakdown. APHA notifies owners by letter if a 50% compensation reduction is to be applied.

The reduction does not apply where the herd is registered to a bovine TB health scheme accredited under the Cattle Health Certification Standards (CHeCS), provided that accreditation was gained prior to the herd losing its OTF status. Herds participating in a CHeCS accredited bovine TB health scheme have a score from 1-10, denoting the number of years of official TB freedom. For example a herd that has been OTF for ten years has a score of 10 and a herd that has been OTF for one year has a score of 1.

 

If a herd is CHeCS accredited for bovine TB and loses its OTF status, then its CHeCS score reverts to zero as the herd cannot participate in the scheme unless it is OTF. Once the herd regains its OTF status, it can slowly build up its CHeCS score again. Herds participating in a CHeCS accredited bovine TB health scheme receive 100% compensation for animals moved into the herd and subsequently removed for TB control purposes for the length of the ongoing breakdown. For more information about bovine TB health schemes, visit the CHeCS website.

Yes, the reduction still applies as the receiving TB breakdown herd was not CHeCS accredited prior to losing its OTF status. The CHeCS accreditation applies to the receiving herd, not the animals being moved in, and so the reduction applies regardless of the source of the animals.

The reduction does not apply to animals moved on to Approved Finishing Units (AFU/AFUE), Licensed Finishing Units (LFU) and TB Isolation Units (TBIU).

Yes. The reduction still applies to animals moved into a breakdown herd from a tCPH, even if it is part of the same TB breakdown.

No. The reduction does not apply to animals moved from TLAs, as the land is within 10 miles of the holding.

Reduction in compensation for unclean reactor/DC cattle at slaughter 

To protect public health and animal welfare by providing a disincentive for cattle producers to present dirty cattle for slaughter.

The Government recognises that the vast majority of cattle producers meet their obligation to present clean cattle for slaughter. In a small minority of cases, dirty cattle are rejected by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) at the slaughterhouse. Based on what we have seen in previous years, we expect to see less than 20 such cases per year i.e. where compensation payments are reduced.

The official veterinarian (OV) at the slaughterhouse makes the decision, based on objective criteria, on behalf of the Food Business Operator (FBO). There is established FSA guidance in place on the cleanliness of cattle, including criteria for scoring of cleanliness. Further information can be found on the FSA website.

It is the cattle producer’s responsibility to ensure their cattle are presented for slaughter in a clean condition. Contamination of otherwise clean cattle with faeces/dirt during transport to the slaughterhouse would not usually represent the level of contamination required to reject the animal for slaughter. Animals rejected for slaughter are highly contaminated with ingrained faeces/dirty in combination with a wet hide, which is unlikely to occur during the journey to the slaughterhouse. If an animal has become contaminated in transit this will be apparent to the OV assessing the animal.

Clipping is stressful for both the animal and operator, and is not an acceptable alternative to ensuring that the animal leaves the farm in a clean condition. In addition, extra time spent in the lairage clipping cattle reduces the line speed and incurs additional costs to producers and FBOs. It is the owner’s responsibility to comply with the clean livestock policy. If absolutely necessary, farmers can employ a specialist contractor to clip their cattle prior to sending them to slaughter. For more information about safe handling of livestock, see the Health and Safety Executive website.

The Food Standards Agency OV at the slaughterhouse notifies APHA of any animals that are rejected for slaughter because they are unclean. APHA then notifies the owner by letter of the decision and applies the 50% reduction to compensation payable.

Yes. The compensation reduction applies to unclean animals presented for slaughter regardless of whether they have had a standard table based valuation or an individual valuation. Individual valuations are used for less than 1% of animals removed for TB control purposes.

No. The decision made by the OV at the slaughterhouse on behalf of the FBO is final. Owners wishing to discuss the decision should contact APHA who can provide further details.

No. The compensation reduction only applies to cattle presented at a slaughterhouse and therefore does not apply to animals shot on farm.

No, not unless there are other reasons to do so, such as an animal within the medicines withdrawal period or an animal in the latter stages of gestation. An animal that is too dirty to be processed at a slaughterhouse is not a valid reason to request shooting on farm. If a cattle keeper refuses to clean up their animals prior to slaughter, APHA may carry out a targeted visit to assess on-farm animal welfare if deemed necessary.

Private slaughter of reactors/direct contacts (DCs)

Instead of APHA organising removal of reactors/DCs to a contracted slaughterhouse, the owner organises and pays for their removal to a slaughterhouse of their choice. The owner also deals directly with the slaughterhouse operator with respect to payment for meat from the carcases. Owners taking up the option of private slaughter forgo compensation payable by Defra, taking instead a payment from their slaughterhouse operator for the meat value of the carcase (known as salvage payment).

Owners wishing to take up the option of private slaughter of TB reactors/DCs should contact APHA at the earliest opportunity. APHA will confirm with the Food Standards Agency (FSA) that the owner’s chosen slaughterhouse will accept TB reactors/DCs, although it is the owner’s responsibility to check directly with the slaughterhouse. Once approval is given to APHA by FSA, a licence is issued and the owner can proceed to organise haulage of the animals to the slaughterhouse.

Yes. Owners need to organise and pay for haulage and slaughter of the animals, and deal directly with the slaughterhouse with respect to payment for the meat value of the carcases.

Yes. Removal must happen within ten working days of the animal being identified as a TB reactor or DC.

 

  • In the case of skin test reactors, ten working days from the reading date (TT2) of the skin test where the animal was identified as a reactor
  • In the case of interferon-gamma test positive animals, ten working days from the date of the notification of positive blood test results from the laboratory
  • In the case of DCs, the date that APHA advised the owner verbally of the requirement to remove the animal as a DC

 

If the animal has not been removed within the specified period of time, APHA will organise removal to one of their contracted slaughterhouses and the owner will receive compensation as per normal arrangements.

If it has been agreed with APHA that removal can be delayed, the owner can still take up the option of private slaughter once the animal is due for removal. The standard ten working day removal target would not apply in these circumstances. Owners wishing to delay removal of their in-calf TB reactors/DCs must contact APHA to seek approval.

Owners wishing to privately slaughter their animals must confirm directly with their chosen slaughterhouse that they can take TB reactors/DCs. If their chosen slaughterhouse cannot take the animals the owner must look for an alternative slaughterhouse, or APHA can arrange removal to one of their contracted slaughterhouses as per normal arrangements.

Yes, although owners still need to consider whether the salvage returns are likely to exceed the amount of compensation payable in order to decide whether to take up the option of private slaughter.

Owners opting to privately slaughter their TB reactors/DCs will now receive compensation from Defra if the carcase is totally condemned due to TB. Owners should contact APHA following notification from the slaughterhouse that a privately slaughtered TB reactor or DC carcase has been condemned to arrange for a compensation payment to be made.

In taking this option owners must agree to accept the salvage payment that they have agreed with the slaughterhouse operator, and no “top up” payment from Defra is available in this scenario.

No. Compensation is only payable where Defra requires the cattle to be compulsorily slaughtered for TB control purposes.

From 1 November 2018, a 50% reduction in compensation is applied for animals moved into a TB breakdown herd that are subsequently removed as TB reactors or DCs before the herd regains officially TB free (OTF) status. Privately slaughtered TB reactors/DCs that are condemned due to TB and were moved into a breakdown herd would receive a 50% reduction to the amount of compensation payable by Defra.