On 1 August 2023, post-movement TB testing became compulsory for cattle moved to annual surveillance testing parts of the Edge Area from higher TB incidence areas of England, and from Wales. A small number of specific exemptions apply.
Cattle (which includes farmed bison and Asiatic water buffalo) moved to herds in annual surveillance testing parts of the Edge Area may require compulsory post-movement testing if they originate from:
- Six-monthly surveillance testing parts of the Edge Area of England
- High Risk Area (HRA) of England
You can find more information on the different TB risk areas in GB on GOV.UK. The policy applies to direct movements of cattle from one holding to another holding, and to indirect movements of cattle via markets and shows. A small number of specific exemptions to post-movement testing apply (see below). Cattle moved to herds in annual surveillance testing parts of the Edge Area do not require compulsory post-movement testing if they originate from:
- Low Risk Area (LRA) of England
- Annual surveillance testing parts of the Edge Area of England
Keepers with herds in annual surveillance testing parts of the Edge Area that source cattle from higher TB incidence areas of England, and from Wales, may be affected. A small number of specific exemptions to post-movement testing apply (see below). Cattle herds in the following counties or part counties in the Edge Area are subject to annual surveillance testing:
- Berkshire east (part county)
- Derbyshire north (part county)
- East Sussex
- Hampshire (part county)
Since 1 August 2023, if you move cattle into your herd in the counties or part counties listed above, they may be eligible for post-movement TB testing. It is important to check this before moving cattle.
Find out which TB risk area your herd or a herd you are moving cattle from is located by using the TB testing interval search tool. You will need to have the county and parish number (the first two parts) of the CPH number of the herd to hand. You can also check our TB risk map for GB.
The government publicly consulted on this policy change in January 2021. In Defra’s response to the consultation, it committed to introducing post-movement TB testing in annual surveillance testing parts of the Edge Area. Bovine TB statistics for England show that whilst there is a stabilisation on a previously upward trend for disease rates in the Edge Area, there is quite a mixed picture locally.
The Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA) estimates that inward movements of cattle with undetected M. bovis infection are the source of around one fifth of all new TB breakdowns in the Edge Area, although this proportion varies from county to county*. Post-movement TB testing will reduce the risk of disease spread through cattle movements and is an important tool to protect the lower TB incidence parts of the Edge Area. It will detect brought-in cases of TB earlier to minimise the scale and impact of the TB breakdown in the destination herd and reduce the risk of spread to other herds.
* Access bovine TB epidemiology and surveillance in Great Britain reports on GOV.UK.
The policy change came into effect on 1 August 2023. Cattle received onto holdings from this date in annual surveillance testing parts of the Edge Area from higher TB incidence areas of England and from Wales may require compulsory post-movement testing. A small number of specific exemptions apply (see below).
Yes. All cattle moved from higher TB incidence areas to herds in the annual surveillance testing parts of the Edge Area require a post-movement test unless a specific exemption applies (see below).
APHA wrote to all cattle keepers in annual surveillance testing parts of the Edge Area advising them of the upcoming policy change. After the policy was implemented on 1 August 2023, for a limited time only, APHA will send monthly notification letters to keepers identified as bringing in cattle that may need a post-movement test. Ultimately, cattle keepers are responsible for ensuring that they comply with TB testing rules, and they should not solely rely on notification letters from APHA.
Generally it is the person who brings cattle into annual surveillance testing parts of the Edge Area. However, a government-funded whole herd TB surveillance test could be used as a post-movement test if the timing works.
You should contact the veterinary practice that normally carries out TB testing of your herd, or any other official veterinarian or approved tuberculin tester authorised to carry out TB testing.
Yes. Cattle that require compulsory post-movement testing must be tested between 60 and 120 days of arrival in an annual testing part of the Edge Area.
The 60-120 day window for a post-movement test is designed to maximise detection of infected cattle moved from higher TB incidence areas whilst allowing the keeper a certain amount of flexibility.
Sixty days is the minimum time allowed between skin tests to prevent a phenomenon known as desensitisation, whereby an animal’s skin reactivity to tuberculin is reduced for some time after the test. Cattle moving to a lower TB incidence area could have completed a pre-movement test just before they left a holding in a higher TB incidence area. This means that 60 days after arrival is the earliest that post-movement testing can be carried out. The 60 days also allows enough time for a recently infected animal to react to the tuberculin test at the destination holding.
Allowing up to 120 days for the post-movement test to be completed at the destination holding gives keepers a reasonable amount of time to book the test. The 120 days allows for 60 days to elapse if any test is undertaken before the start of the post-movement testing window e.g. a routine whole herd surveillance test. It also allows sufficient time (four months) for any introduced animals intended only for fattening to be finished on the destination holding and sent to a slaughterhouse without the need for a post-movement test. This focuses the effort and expense associated with post-movement testing on high risk cattle moved into lower TB incidence areas to live, avoiding the need to test animals that are going to be slaughtered shortly after they arrive.
No. Cattle brought into annual surveillance testing parts of the Edge Area that require compulsory post-movement testing cannot be moved to another holding until they have had a TB skin test with negative results.
Movement restrictions are applied to the herd until all cattle that should have been post-movement tested are tested with negative results. The post-movement 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, not necessarily. There are a small number of specific exemptions to compulsory post-movement testing. In the following scenarios a post-movement test is not required:
- cattle slaughtered within 120 days of arrival in the herd
- cattle moved solely for veterinary treatment, provided they are returned directly to the herd of origin after treatment or are killed or go directly to slaughter
- cattle moved to an exempt agricultural show in annual surveillance testing parts of the Edge Area, or that return to those areas from an exempt agricultural show elsewhere. Cattle must return directly to their holding of origin, be killed, or go directly to slaughter after the show. An exempt agricultural show is one where cattle do not stay on the showground site for more than 24 hours and they are not housed
- cattle moved directly to one of the following:
- a market from which all animals go direct to slaughter
- an exempt market
- a TB approved collecting centre (for cattle from TB restricted herds)
- an approved finishing unit (AFU)
- an exempt finishing unit (EFU)
- cattle moved under the authority of a movement licence issued by APHA
Yes. Cattle moved to AFUs and EFUs in annual surveillance testing parts of the Edge Area from other parts of England and from Wales are exempt from post-movement testing. This is the case if cattle are moved directly to the AFU or EFU, or indirectly via another holding in the annual surveillance testing parts of the Edge Area, provided they are moved to the unit within 120 days of arriving on the holding.
Yes, unless a specific exemption applies (see above). The calves will need to complete a post-movement test within 60 and 120 days of their arrival on the Edge Area holding. By the time the minimum 60 days has elapsed, the calves will be eligible for TB testing even if they were under 42 days old when moved and were not eligible for pre-movement testing at that time. Cattle must remain on the holding until the test is completed unless specific exemptions apply (see above).
No. The post-movement testing requirement is based on the TB testing frequency for an area rather than individual herd testing regimes.
Yes. The post-movement testing requirement is based on the TB testing frequency for an area rather than individual herd testing regimes.
Post-movement testing and agricultural shows
Cattle moved from herds in annual surveillance testing parts of the Edge Area to non-exempt shows in higher TB incidence areas of England or in Wales will need to be post-movement tested when they return to the holding of origin. 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 holding (except to slaughter or for veterinary treatment) until the post-movement test has been completed with negative results. Cattle keepers with herds in the annual surveillance testing parts of the Edge Area who wish to send stock to multiple shows held in higher TB incidence areas of England or in Wales may defer the post-movement test by keeping their animals outside of the annual surveillance testing parts of the Edge Area (or 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. 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 will 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 in higher TB incidence areas of England or in Wales on the way to or from the market.
No, not if the move from the livestock market does not involve a stay at another holding inside the annual surveillance testing parts of the Edge Area (or the LRA) on the way from the market.
- Guidance on pre- and post-movement TB testing of cattle in Great Britain on GOV.UK
- Information on TB risk areas on GOV.UK
- Information about pre- and post-movement TB testing requirements for cattle attending agricultural shows