What’s the difference between feedlot and regular herds?

The different regulations and procedures between feedlot and non-feedlot herds when it comes to an outbreak of bovine TB has been outlined by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed.

Responding to a parliamentary question on the matter from independent TD for Roscommon-Galway Michael Fitzmaurice, the minister gave a breakdown of the Department of Agriculture procedures in place.

Minister Creed noted that when TB is disclosed in any type of herd, a number of measures are enforced.

The infected herd:
  • Is immediately restricted and cannot sell animals on the open market;
  • May move animals direct to slaughter;
  • Must isolate the reactor animals from the rest of the herd;
  • Must remove reactor animals to slaughter within 30 days of disclosure;
  • Must disinfect the premises; and
  • Must undergo two clear herd tests, 60 days apart, in order for the restriction to be lifted and to allow open market sales to resume.

Non-feedlot herds restricted under the TB Regulations may not purchase in animals until one clear test has been completed, the minister said.

“Due to the nature of some farming enterprises, the keeper may wish to buy in more cattle before a test has been carried out.

“Insisting that this is done may entail the testing of, in some cases, over a thousand cattle that, in any event will shortly be sent direct for slaughter.

‘Feedlot status’

“This could be considered as a wasteful exercise in terms of resources, both human and financial, and also in terms of disease control.

To allow the enterprise to continue to function as a commercial entity, the TB programme makes provision for such herds to apply for a particular type of category which is referred to as ‘Feedlot Status’.

Minister Creed said that herds which are granted feedlot status are restricted under the TB regulations and may be granted permission to continue to purchase animals prior to a test taking place once a special supervisory protocol is in place, which includes enhanced biosecurity.

“The retest requirements will be determined by the Regional Veterinary Office (RVO) based on an assessment of the disease situation.

“Feedlot herds remain restricted until two clear tests have been completed.

Once a herd has been derestricted, the status of ‘feedlot’ under the TB programme no longer applies, since this is a status applicable only to restricted herds.

The minister said that feedlot status is only granted when there is no evidence that within-herd transmission or spread of disease is occurring.

“Where there is evidence of within-herd spread, the feedlot status is withdrawn and the usual rules apply,” he said.

Compensation

“Feedlot herds when restricted for TB are not eligible for compensation while, in general, non-feedlot herds are eligible for compensation,” he added.