Smaller movement windows on the way under draft TB testing regulation

A new regulation on the way from Europe will mean stricter TB testing, meaning many farmers seeking to sell cattle will soon be required to either sell within six months of their last herd test, or conduct a test within 30 days of an animal being sold.

A draft delegated regulation from the European Commission, if endorsed, will mean compulsory 30-day pre-movement bovine TB testing.

According to the European Commission, this pre-movement test exists already in the current legislation – but it was possible to derogate from it. Ireland was one of the few member states that make use of this derogation, with TB-free herd owners testing once a year up to now.

A spokesperson for the commission said that the pre-movement test in the draft delegated regulation should be done to animals that are to be moved into a disease-free establishment.

In addition, the test needs to be done 30 days before the movement or 30 days after the movement, if the animals are kept in isolation.

Derogations

Nevertheless, under the draft regulation there are still possible derogations for this 30 days period pre-movement test, a commission spokesperson said, giving the below options.

If there is recent information concerning the health status at origin, it is valid for the animal to be moved if both it and its herd of origin have been tested less than six months ago, according to the commission.

Additionally, a derogation applies if animals are from the establishments in an area with a lower risk (MTBC prevalence has been lower 0.2% for at least four years).

In this, an animal can be moved if it and its herd of origin have been tested less than 12 months ago, the commission explained.

TB testing reasoning

It was stressed that, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) standards, pre-movement tests should always take place and could be only waived in bovine tuberculosis-free areas.

This necessity has also been acknowledged by EU tuberculosis experts during the last years. This is the baseline of the future rules on pre-movement testing, the commission spokesperson said.

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