Management of bovine TB breakdowns

Your herd will be placed under movement restrictions. This doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t trade but, to reduce the risk of disease spread the options available to you may change. No movements are allowed onto new breakdown farms before completion of the fist short interval TB test, and movements off are limited to slaughter and certain other destinations under licence.

This depends on the circumstances, including the extent and nature of the breakdown and the TB risk area in which your holding is located. It also depends upon whether further reactors are found at subsequent tests, and the results of their post mortem inspection. All TB breakdown herds in the High Risk Area (HRA) and Edge Area must complete two clear short interval tests at least 60 days apart before restrictions can be lifted. This is regardless of whether TB lesions are found in reactors or the TB bacterium is isolated on bacteriological culture.

The primary screening test for TB in cattle in Great Britain is the tuberculin skin test. The interferon-gamma blood test is a supplementary test that is used in TB breakdown herds in certain situations to increase the detection of TB-infected animals. 

Compensation is paid to owners of cattle that the Government requires to be compulsorily slaughtered for TB control purposes. In England, compensation is determined primarily through table valuations, based on average market prices which are updated and published monthly by Defra.

Cattle can only move from TB breakdown herds under licences issued by APHA. Routes of sale when under restriction include to slaughter (either directly or via an approved slaughter gathering or collection centre), Approved Finishing Units (AFU/AFUEs), orange markets or other TB-restricted farms.

Depending on the nature (e.g. post-mortem evidence of disease found) and location of the TB incident your herd may be subject to a TB test. Also, if you have purchased stock from your neighbour a ‘tracing’ test of those animals may be required.

Calves from reactor animals are not routinely taken. However APHA assess the risks to the calf following post-mortem examination of the reactor cow. If the risk to the calf is deemed to be high, for example if the cow had TB lesions in the udder, then it would be taken as a direct contact and compensation paid.

Short interval tests are scheduled 60 days from the date of removal of the last reactor. If there were no reactors then it is scheduled 60 days from the date of injection (day 1) of the previous short interval test. This also applies in the case of delayed reactor removal, for example to allow for calving.

Yes. They must inform any commercial buyer of their milk of the loss of the herd’s officially TB free (OTF) status at the outset of the breakdown.