Pre-testing for TB to become compulsory

Pre-movement testing of cattle to stop bovine tuberculois spreading will become compulsory in England on 20 February.

And controversially farmers will have to pay for the test, overturning the principle of sharing costs with the taypayer in the interests of eradication of the disease.

This measure, along with a 12 week consultation on badger culling was announced by Defra last month.

Animal Health and Welfare Minister Ben Bradshaw said that bovine TB has reached crisis levels in some parts of the country.

He added: "Experience from around the world shows that strict cattle controls are essential if TB is to be contained and eradicated. But it also shows that its is unlikely to be successful unless, in addition, action is taken to deal with the disease in wildlife. Pre-movement testing is clearly necessary - particularly if we are to prevent further spread to most of the country which is TB free."