On 9 May 2022, the Scottish Government launched a consultation, aimed at gathering views on specific proposals for tuberculosis (TB) diagnostic testing, cattle movements, isolation requirements and unclean cattle.
Bovine TB is a notifiable disease of cattle, which can also affect other mammals, and continues to present a significant challenge to the farming sector across the UK.
Scotland achieved Officially Tuberculosis Free Status (OTF) in September 2009, in recognition of the relatively low and stable incidence of TB found in Scottish herds, and this pattern is consistent with sporadic introductions of disease, which are eradicated through testing and removal of infected cattle.
The current Tuberculosis (Scotland) Order came into force in 2007 and has been amended a number of times since, most recently to make amendments arising from the withdrawal of the UK from the EU. The Scottish Government are proposing to consolidate all the bovine TB legislation in one updated TB Order, as well as considering amendments to the legislation.
The following amendments have been proposed:
- An amendment to the provisions for the application of diagnostic tests, to include a requirement for the prior written permission of Scottish Ministers where non-statutory and private samples are taken with the intention of applying a diagnostic test for TB.
- An end to the practice of accepting a clear final short interval test (SIT) at the end of all TB breakdowns as a valid pre-movement test. Cattle to be moved out of such herds will need to have a further (bespoke) pre-movement skin test with negative results.
- A shortening of the period during which a pre-movement test with negative results remains valid, from the current 60 days to 30 days after tuberculin injection, to bring domestic pre-movement testing into line with the testing of cattle intended for export, and further reduce the risk of cattle contracting TB between the dates of the test and the movement.
- A reduction of compensation for unclean cattle at slaughter.
- A tightening of measures relating to the isolation of reactors and inconclusive reactors (IRs).
While anyone may respond to this consultation, the Scottish Government would particularly like to hear from keepers of cattle or livestock, cattle or livestock associations, veterinary surgeons or associations, agricultural markets and valuers, animal welfare advocates and anyone else with an interest in the eradication and control of bovine TB in Scotland.
The consultation will run until 1 August 2022 and responses can be made on the Scottish Government website.
Source: Scottish Government, 9 May 2022