Pre- and post-movement testing of cattle

Pre-movement testing

In England and Wales, all cattle 42 days old and over moving out of an annually or more frequently tested herd must have tested negative to a TB test within 60 days before movement, unless the herd or type of movement meets any of the exemptions.

In Scotland, all cattle 42 days old and over in a two-yearly or more frequent testing area must be pre-movement tested before they move from or enter any Scottish herd within 60 days prior to the move, unless an exemption applies.

Yes, exemptions apply in certain situations. For a complete list of exemptions, see the pre-movement testing guidance available on GOV.UK.

No, not unless your herd is subject to more frequent surveillance testing (e.g. producers of raw milk), or enhanced surveillance testing (e.g. radial testing). If your herd is subject to radial testing, the Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA) will notify you of the requirement to pre-movement test. 

It is the cattle keeper’s responsibility to book and pay for a private pre-movement test with their private vet. However, a government-funded routine surveillance test (e.g. an annual whole herd test) can count as a pre-movement test if the timing is right. 

Yes, as long as the cattle are moved within 60 days of their clear test (60 days after the injection date of the skin test).

Clear pre-movement test results are valid for 60 days from the date of injection of tuberculins on day one of the skin test, which is day zero of the 60 day period.

No. Currently only the tuberculin skin test can be used as a pre-movement test in Great Britain. 

Calves under 42 days old (i.e. 41 days old or less) are not eligible for pre-movement testing. When calculating the date that a calf becomes eligible for pre-movement testing, the date of birth of the calf is counted as day zero, the day after birth is day one and so on. A worked example is presented below:

 

A calf is born on 4 May 2018 which is day zero. Day 41 would be 14 June 2018 and this is the last day that the calf could be moved off the holding without a pre-movement test. The calf would become eligible for pre-movement testing on 15 June 2018 (day 42) and would not be permitted to move off the holding without a clear pre-movement test.

Clear TB test charts (TB52c) provide confirmation that the tested cattle can be moved. You are required to keep these charts for three years and 60 days as evidence of TB testing. You are also advised to keep evidence for at least three years if cattle have been moved without a test because the herd or movement is exempted from pre-movement testing rules.

If the cattle are moving out of an annually or more frequently tested herd onto another holding (whether it’s a permanent or temporary CPH), they require pre-movement testing.

No. Pre-movement testing is not required between permanent land and any temporary land linked through a Temporary Land Association (TLA). However, pre-movement testing is still applicable for movements between permanent land and temporary CPHs (tCPH). 

Pre-movement testing is a valuable control measure to reduce the risk of introducing bovine TB into cattle herds, but the skin test is not 100% sensitive. Isolation and post-movement testing should also be considered depending on the TB risk of the particular movement.

The requirement for pre-movement testing of cattle attending agricultural shows depends on whether the show is exempt. Cattle moving to an exempt show (provided that the animal is returned to the premises of origin or moved direct to slaughter) are exempt from pre-movement testing. A show is classed as exempt if:

  • no cattle are to remain on the
    showground for a period of 24 hours or more, and
  • in England, no cattle are to be housed i.e. any covered area with sides, which includes a marquee
  • in Wales, no cattle are to be housed
    i.e. any covered area with or without sides, which includes a marquee

 

Ultimately exhibitors are advised to check the pre-movement testing requirements with the show organiser well in advance of the show. 

Post-movement testing

Herd owners in the Low Risk Area (LRA) of England must arrange and pay for post-movement tests for cattle moved from herds in annual (or more frequent) surveillance testing areas of England and Wales. Herd owners in the Low TB Area of Wales must arrange and pay for post-movement tests for cattle moving from the High and Intermediate TB Areas of Wales or from High Risk and Edge Areas of England.

 

Post-movement tests must be completed between 60 and 120 days after an animal has joined a herd in the LRA in England or Low TB Area in Wales. Government-funded TB tests scheduled to take place within the 60-120 day post-movement testing window can be considered valid post-movement tests.

All cattle moving from a two-yearly or more frequent testing area must be post-movement tested between 60-120 days after their arrival in a Scottish herd. Cattle imported from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland must also be post-movement tested between 60 and 120 days of their arrival in a Scottish herd unless they will be slaughtered within 120 days of import.

Yes, exemptions apply in certain situations. For a complete list of exemptions, see the post-movement testing guidance available on GOV.UK.

No, you will not automatically be notified of the requirement to post-movement test. Herd owners are responsible for ensuring they comply with TB testing rules. If you are trading cattle it is important to check whether they require pre- and/or post-movement testing well before the intended movement.

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

Generally it will be the person who brings cattle into a lower TB risk area 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.

Yes. Cattle eligible for post-movement testing must be skin tested between 60 and 120 days of arrival.

Restrictions are 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). The Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA) carries out compliance monitoring of post-movement testing, writing to non-compliant keepers and referring them to the Local Authority. 

Yes. This is the case if the animals move directly to a Licensed Finishing Unit (LFU), or if they move indirectly to an LFU via another holding (provided the cattle are moved to the LFU within 120 days of arrival).

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.

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 Low Risk Area (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 Low Risk Area (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.