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Home / Government Policy / England / Bovine TB – Expansion of the edge area in England and new cattle testing arrangements in the expanded edge area
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Bovine TB Information Note 01/17 06 November 2017
This note is of particular significance for cattle keepers in:
1. In August 2016 Defra consulted on two proposals relating to the Edge Area of England.
2. The first proposed change was to re-classify the part Edge, part High Risk Area (HRA) counties of Cheshire, Derbyshire, East Sussex, Oxfordshire and Warwickshire as fully in the Edge Area. That would mean that herds in the HRA parts of these counties may then be subject to a new routine surveillance testing regime. TB breakdown herds with lesion and/or culture positive animals in these counties would be subject to mandatory interferon gamma testing, as is the case for herds in the current Edge Area. Eligibility for support from the new Badger Edge Vaccination Scheme (known as BEVS 2) would also extend to these new parts of the Edge Area.
3.The second proposed change was to require herds in some parts of the Edge Area to be subject to six monthly routine surveillance testing, while others would remain on annual testing but with the addition of 3km radial tests around TB breakdowns with lesion and/or culture positive animals. The current Edge Area part of Cheshire is already subject to six monthly routine surveillance testing. The current Edge Area part of Derbyshire is already subject to radial testing.
Defra Ministers have now decided that these proposals should be implemented as soon as possible.
What this means for you
4. This information Note is intended to help you understand the implications for your business. As a first step, PLEASE TAKE A CAREFUL LOOK AT ANNEX A AND ANNEX B, which will tell you what will change in your area.
5. A radial test is a TB surveillance test around all new TB breakdowns with lesion and/or culture positive animals. The purpose of the test is to check neighbouring cattle herds for any disease spread, and to help identify any undetected source of infection in the locality. All cattle holdings falling within, or straddling, a 3km radius circle from the new TB breakdown will be identified and required to undertake a radial test of all the cattle on the holding aged 42 days or older. If a clear herd test has been completed within the previous two months, the radial test would be deferred until six months from the date of that last herd test. Herds are not placed under TB restrictions whilst awaiting radial testing.
6. If you are in an area which will be subject to annual with radial testing you do not need to do anything. Your annual testing will be unaffected. You will receive a notification from Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA) if and when a radial test of your herd is required.
7. The most significant change will be for herd owners in areas which will become subject to six monthly, rather than annual, surveillance testing. This change will be phased in from 1 January 2018. Once the routine whole herd test already scheduled for 2018 is completed, another routine whole herd test will be scheduled six months later.
8. As now, you will have a window of two months from the earliest date your test can be started within which to complete your test (for example, tests scheduled to start from 1 January must be completed by 2 March).
9. We recognise that adding a second date six months after the current scheduled earliest test date won’t be suitable for many herds. For example, if you have a beef herd that spends a large proportion of the year out to grass and you currently test in January when the herd is housed, a second date in July probably won’t serve your purposes (despite the fact that the window for that test would extend to September).
10. Please think about what test dates would suit your business needs. The following table may help you.
11. If you haven’t already been informed of your 2018 test date, APHA will notify you in the usual way. Once your first routine whole herd test in 2018 is completed, if you wish to change the date of the next test (which will be scheduled for six months later), please contact the APHA TB Advice Centre via the Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301. The Helpline is open Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5pm. APHA will as far as possible seek to accommodate your preferred testing dates.
12. Six monthly surveillance testing enables infected cattle to be identified at an earlier stage thereby reducing the time the bovine TB bacterium can spread within the herd; be transmitted to other herds and/or wildlife; and be spread in the environment. But just as importantly it also enables us to do away with a number of ad hoc, unpredictable TB tests. These include tests of herds contiguous to TB breakdowns and check tests in herds with suspected cases of TB reported at routine slaughter.
All counties listed above will have mandatory use of the gamma interferon blood test in TB breakdowns with lesion and/or culture positive animals, and will be eligible for Badger Edge Vaccination Scheme grants.
List of parishes in Berkshire that will move to six monthly testing
List of parishes in Derbyshire that will move to six monthly testing
List of parishes in Hampshire that will move to six monthly testing