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Approved Finishing Units

From 1st January 2021 operators will be allowed to apply for Rearing Approved Finishing Unit’s (AFU) in the High TB area of Wales.

Operators of these units can purchase calves from multiple TB-restricted and TB free herds. The cattle can be reared for a period of time and have options at the appropriate age to be moved to another AFU, be sent to an approved slaughter gathering or to slaughter.

An individual animal can only move on a single occasion from an AFU in England or Wales to an AFU in Wales. So, for instance, an animal can be bought as a calf, reared for 8 weeks and be moved to another AFU, but it can only go from there to slaughter.

Cattle from an AFU cannot be licenced to move to a TB Dedicated Sale (Orange Market).

Application for approval of a Rearing Approved Finishing Unit in Wales and England

How can I apply for approval of a Rearing Approved Finishing Unit?

There are no differences in the application or approval processes for a rearing AFU and an AFU growing cattle on for slaughter. To apply, please read the guidance notes and complete the application form available on GOV.UK. Please make sure that you supply all the relevant supporting documents (e.g. site plan), otherwise your application may be delayed. If you need help completing the application form, or require more information please contact Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) Wales on 0300 3038268 or

What is the process following submission of my application?

Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) will assess your application form and may need to contact you for additional information. An APHA vet will then visit the unit to check that the terms and conditions of approval and operation can be met. If the visit is satisfactory then APHA will approve the unit. If the terms and conditions cannot be met then APHA will explain the reasons why, and what needs to be done to approve the unit.

What happens once a unit is approved?

APHA will request a unique Country Parish Holding (CPH) number for the AFU once it is approved.  This will be issued by Rural Payments Wales (RPW).  You will be notified of the new CPH and then need to register this CPH with the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS).

APHA will also request that the details of your AFU are added to the list of AFUs on GOV.UK

Source of cattle

Where can AFUs in Wales source cattle under licence from?

AFUs in Wales may source cattle under licence from:

  • TB-restricted premises in Wales, England and Scotland
  • TB Dedicated Sales (“orange markets” in Wales)
  • On-farm dispersal sales in England only
  • AFUs in Wales and England from 1 January 2021 and AFUEs in England
  • Unrestricted premises in Wales, England and Scotland.

Cattle movements and testing requirements

When can cattle within an AFU in Wales and England move off under licence?

Cattle within an AFU in Wales and England can only move off under licence:

  • Directly to a slaughterhouse in Wales, England or Scotland.
  • To slaughter via an Approved Slaughter Gathering for TB-restricted cattle (red market) in England or Wales. This can be a sale or collection.
  • From 1 January 2021, cattle can move directly to another AFU in Wales or England. An animal can only move on a single occasion from an AFU in Wales, or England, to an AFU in Wales.

Can cattle be moved from an Approved Finishing Unit to a TB Dedicated Sale (Orange market)?

Cattle from an AFU cannot be licensed to a TB Dedicated Sale (orange market). These have different requirements for sourcing cattle.

Cattle from a TB Dedicated Sale (orange market) in England and “ the orange sales” in Wales can be moved to an AFU or to an abattoir. However, certain requirements in milk contracts may stipulate the move to an abattoir cannot happen until a calf is over eight weeks of age.

Any animal can only move once from an AFU to an AFU in Wales.

Summary movement flows

Are movements between AFUs allowed?

Any animal can only be licensed on a single occasion to move from an AFU to an AFU in Wales from 1 January 2021, enabling for instance, a movement from an AFU set up to rear calves to an AFU set up to grow animals on for slaughter. These movements will only be allowed following a veterinary or veterinary based assessment of risk. There is no policy intention to prevent such moves, unless there is a very high risk identified.

What are the testing requirements for movements between AFUs?

For any moves between AFUs in Wales, animals of 180 days and older must have had a clear skin test within 90 days of the move. For moves between AFUs in Wales and AFU/AFUEs in England in either direction animals of 42 days and older must have had a clear skin test within 90 days of the move.

How frequent will surveillance testing be required at AFUs?

Surveillance testing for all AFUs in Wales will continue to be at six monthly intervals, but from January 1st 2021 will only include cattle of 180 days and over. The testing interval will continue to be at 90 days during a TB breakdown for all animals on the unit (with the agreed exceptions during the Covid pandemic). APHA may decide to include animals under 180 days old in AFU surveillance tests if there are risk-related reasons to do so.

What happens if a TB breakdown is detected at an AFU?

When a TB breakdown is detected at an AFU in Wales, movements to slaughter can continue directly and through approved slaughter gatherings. The movement of clear tested animals can continue under licence to another AFU in England or Wales subject to a veterinary risk assessment. If the last test results indicate too high a risk of infected cattle moving to another AFU, the movement will not be allowed. This can occur when there are high numbers of reactors, or animals with lesions, which cause concern about a high risk of transmission.

Can young calves be purchased from multiple TB restricted holdings?

The operators of AFUs can purchase cattle from multiple TB restricted holdings, or Officially TB Free holdings, rear them and at the appropriate stage in the production cycle move them on to another AFU capable of taking them to slaughter weight, or send them directly to slaughter. This allows for the different management needs of each age group of animal. These animals cannot then move onto another AFU in Wales, but can only move to slaughter, or an Approved Slaughter Gathering. The existing approval process will be the same for all AFUs.

What are the rules for Inconclusive Reactors on farms?

Clear tested animals (in the 90 days before a move), or animals under 42 days, can be licensed from a TB restricted holding to an AFU, or a TB Dedicated Sale when Inconclusive Reactors (IRs) remain on the origin holding, although IRs, of course, cannot be licensed from the premises. Where reactors or blood test positive animals remain on a holding, clear tested animals cannot be licensed off until the skin or blood test reactors are removed and post-mortem results known. There are other reasons which may lead to APHA refusing a licence and further information on these can be found here.  With respect to resolved IRs restricted for life in English holdings under a TB197 Notice, these can be licensed to an AFU in Wales, or through a Welsh TB Dedicated Sales on a specific licence (the general licence on GOV.UK does not cover moves into Wales).

If a farmer has one clear test remaining before TB restrictions can be revoked, can he/she then send animals to an AFU?

Animals from Welsh holdings can only be moved to an AFU, if the herd is due two more Short Interval tests.

What do I do with my uneconomic calves if I am down with TB and my milk buyer insists that they have to stay alive to 8 weeks of age?

The options for your uneconomic calves are as follows:

  • Rear them on farm.
  • Send to an AFU in Wales, or an AFU/AFUE in England
  • Send to a TB Dedicated Sale – check first with the auctioneer that they can ensure the animals will be sold to an AFU operator only.
  • Set up a TB Isolation Unit on another holding.
  • Sell to another farmer under TB restrictions – this will need to be a low risk move for a licence to be allowed. Any move onto a TB restricted holding can result in a 50% compensation reduction, unless that move is from a TB restricted holding to an AFU.

It is your responsibility, as the seller, to ensure that you get confirmation with a market operator, or an AFU operator, that these animals will be only sold to an AFU operator for rearing, or will be reared at an AFU, to at least 8 weeks of age.

Can you sell calves in the time between the initial breakdown test and the first short interval test?

Before completion of the first post breakdown Short Interval Test (SIT), following the suspension or withdrawal of your Officially TB Free status, the risk is unknown. Movements may only be considered, following a frisk assessment to:

  • slaughter, directly or via a TB Dedicated Sale (orange market), or an Approved Slaughter Gathering(Red gathering);
  • an AFU/AFUE directly or via a TB Dedicated Sale; or
  • a TB Isolation Unit.

Are there are any TB isolation units (IUs) in Wales and are they in high risk areas only?

TB Isolation Units can only be set up on an OTF holding, as a TB Isolation Unit can only hold cattle from your holding. These are indoor units with high levels of biosecurity, which have to be filled and closed within 6 weeks. They can only be approved in the Intermediate Mid and High TB Areas of Wales. Once closed the cattle usually need two clear Approved Segregated Group (ASG) tests at least 60 and 120 days after closure of the IU, before the cattle in the IU can be released from TB restrictions.

Conditions for approval and operation of Approved Finishing Units (AFUs) in Wales

Can animals other than cattle enter an AFU?

No, they are approved for cattle only.

Will pregnant cattle be approved?

No, they are not intended for pregnant animals and no breeding nor milking should take place within the unit. Contingency plans must be in place for any calves born unexpectedly in the unit.

When can an AFU regain official TB free status (OTF)?

An AFU must be under TB movement restrictions (TB02) at all times. An AFU can only seek to regain officially TB free (OTF) status once depopulated and have been fully cleansed & disinfected.   

Are there conditions as to where an AFU can be located?

All AFUs must be self-contained units, isolated from other cattle and have clear and discrete boundaries. In Wales all AFUs must be indoor units and located only in the High TB Area of Wales.

Can an AFU be registered under the same County Parish Holding as the farm?

No, they must be registered under a unique permanent County Parish Holding (CPH) number.

The unit cannot have a temporary CPH (tCPH) or Temporary Land Association (TLA) registered against it.

Is an inspection of the unit required, if so, how frequently?

APHA inspection of the premises and records is carried out at least twice a year and may be unannounced.

Strict biosecurity requirements must be in place, including wildlife proofing of buildings.


What compensation implications are there?

If cattle from a TB restricted holding move to an AFU under licence and are later found to be reactors at six monthly testing, there will be no 50% compensation reduction applied for movement under licence.

If cattle from an OTF (officially TB Free) herd move to an AFU under licence and are later found to be reactors, a 50% reduction to compensation will be applied.

TB Dedicated Sales (Orange Markets)

How many TB Dedicated Sales will there be in Wales?

Two market operators were temporarily approved to hold a limited number of TB Dedicated Sales in Wales, as a pilot, in order to assess their operation in Wales. These approvals will be for a fixed-term. From 1 January 2021, other markets in the High TB Area of Wales will be able to apply for approval to hold a TB Dedicated Sale, with a review of the policy scheduled for 12 months.

Where in Wales will the TB Dedicated Sales operate?

In the High TB Area. TB Dedicated Sales will not be allowed in the Low, or Intermediate TB Areas of Wales, to be consistent with our TB Eradication policy in relation to AFUs.

Will TB Dedicated Sales be available to cattle over 8 weeks of age?

TB Dedicated Sales will also be available to animals over 8 weeks of age which are eligible for entry into an AFU.

Can cattle from an AFU be licensed to a TB Dedicated Sale?

No, cattle from an AFU cannot be licensed to a TB Dedicated Sale.

Are there rules on the number of gatherings held at the same approved gathering site as a TB Dedicated Sale?

Approved TB Dedicated Sales cannot simultaneously be held with any other animal gathering. Other gatherings will not be permitted on the same premises unless there is a clear separation in time from other markets and suitable cleansing and disinfection has been completed, as required by the Animal Gatherings (Wales) Order 2010. An Official TB Free gathering cannot be held after an approved TB Dedicated Sale on the same day in Wales.

As a purchaser, is there a requirement to provide eligibility evidence to move cattle from the market?

All purchasers will need to provide evidence to the market that they fulfil the criteria to move cattle from the market. They must either present an approval as an AFU/AFUE, or confirm that they will move all animals directly to slaughter and identify the slaughterhouse they will move to.

How will the market keep track of all TB restricted cattle sold?

The auctioneer will be required to collate a schedule, broken down by holding of origin, of all the TB restricted cattle sold. The schedule must provide details of the vendor, the animal, the buyer and the AFU/AFUE or slaughterhouse of destination. This schedule will need to be sent electronically to APHA within 24 hours of the end of the sale.

A check on returns will be carried out by APHA to assess if animals have reached the correct destination according to the Cattle Tracing System (CTS). Movements with unexplained conflicting entries on CTS will be investigated and the number of discrepancies and the rate of non-compliance will be monitored for each market.

What happens to unsold cattle?

Cattle cannot return home from a TB Dedicated sale. It is for market operators to set a market policy on how unsold cattle are dealt with and how calves under 8 weeks of age can be sold to AFU operators, rather than being sent directly to slaughter. As no cattle can return home from the sale, it is imperative that vendors ensure the cattle are double-tagged before loading.

Who approves TB dedicated sales?

APHA will approve all TB Dedicated Sales.

Who do I contact for market approval queries?

For Wales contact

Who do I contact in APHA about case management, including market licences, from customers, and the return from auctioneers?

APHA Wales phone number: 0300 3038268 and ask for the APHA Wales TB Case Management Team

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