North East farmers are being advised to request information on the TB history of cattle they buy to reduce the risk of their herds being infected with the disease.
The practice, known as risk-based trading (RBT), was launched last November, and since then Defra has provided posters and guidance leaflets to all auction marts in England.
Defra suggests farmers ask sellers to provide, at the very least, the date of the animal’s last pre-movement test, if applicable, and the date of the last routine herd test. They should also enquire if the herd has ever had TB and, if it has, when it last came off restrictions.
Farming Minister, George Eustice said: “Introducing new animals to a herd can be a potential disease risk. Farms in the North and East of England are for the most part free of bovine TB and we want to do everything we can to prevent the spread of disease to these parts of the country.
“Risk-based trading will help us do just that. It is an important tool that gives farmers the ability to reduce the risk to their livelihoods from the threat of this terrible disease, which can have a devastating impact on farms and lead to the slaughter of otherwise healthy cattle.”
Michael Seals, chairman of the Animal Health and Welfare Board for England, added that the extra information would help farmers to “minimise the possibility of a TB breakdown with all its tragic knock on effects”.
For further information, see www.tbfreeengland.co.uk/rbt/