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Chronic TB breakdowns

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From 1 October 2017, to coincide with the coming into force of the Tuberculosis (Wales) Order 2017, a number of measures will be implemented in chronic herd breakdowns.

Our definition of a chronic herd breakdown is a cattle herd that has had its Officially TB Free Status Withdrawn (OTFW) and:

  • has been OTFW for a duration of 18 months or more (i.e. a persistent breakdown), or
  • became OTFW at or before the 12 month check test, following an earlier OTFW breakdown (i.e. a recurrent breakdown),but excluding recurrent breakdowns where all reactors are animals brought in since the close of the previous incident, unless subsequent molecular typing information does not support a purchased origin.

Persistent TB breakdowns lasting 18 months or longer will be focussed on initially and each will have a bespoke Action Plan drawn up in partnership with the farmer, their private vet and APHA. All persistent TB breakdowns are currently located in the Intermediate and High TB Areas.

Action Plans contain a variety of measures aimed at clearing up TB infection and supporting these herds to become Officially TB Free. Each one will be different but typical measures include:

  • increasing test sensitivity through more frequent use of the gamma interferon test as well as removing inconclusive reactors
  • reducing contact between cattle and badgers through improving biosecurity at high risk points
  • removing Inconclusive Reactors in these herds
  • increasing knowledge of local badger disease status by carrying out post mortem examination of dead badgers.

From 1 October 2017, to coincide with the coming into force of the Tuberculosis (Wales) Order 2017, the following measures will also be implemented in chronic herd breakdowns, again focussing initially on persistent breakdowns:

  • the clearing test that lifts TB movement restrictions on a herd will no longer be able to be used as a Pre-Movement Test (meaning that cattle need a further clear test before being able to be moved off the premises)
  • where cattle are moved under a licence within a TB restricted holding, we will only pay 50% compensation is the moved animals are subsequently slaughtered as a result of TB
  • biosecurity Requirements Notices (BRNs) will be issued as necessary to OTFW chronic breakdown herds and compensation will be reduced in cases on non-compliance
  • where it is viewed that badgers are contributing to the persistence of disease in chronic herd breakdowns, badgers will be trapped and tested. Positive testing badgers will be humanely euthanized.