Welsh cattle 2010 testing launch

The Welsh Assembly Government will test all cattle in Wales for Bovine TB in 2010 in a move welcomed by farming unions.

Rural affairs minister Elin Jones, who attended the Rural Development Sub-Committee to provide an update on the TB Eradication Programme yesterday (Wednesday), announced that, in order to continue to identify and remove all sources of infection, all cattle in Wales would be tested next year as a precaution.

Jones said: “I have made it clear from the outset that the success of the TB Eradication Programme depends on a comprehensive approach which tackles all sources of infection.”

The Government’s previous testing scheme, Health Check Wales, is to end in December and the new TB testing regime will apply while data from Health Check Wales, the testing of all herds in Wales between October 2008 and December 2009, is analysed. All herds in Wales will now have to also to comply with pre-movement testing requirements.

Jones added: “As part of Health Check Wales, we have identified and we are removing new cases of bovine TB in herds that may not have been tested until 2012. This demonstrates the need for more frequent testing in areas that are currently only tested every two, three or four years.

“Next year, all herds in Wales will move to an annual testing interval and will need to comply with pre-movement testing requirements. This will reduce the risk of disease spread through cattle movements while we analyse the full results of the TB Health Check Wales.”

NFU Cymru president Dai Davies welcomed the announcement, describing it as “a sensible approach”.

Elin Jones has also announced that, in future, the Welsh Assembly Government will not be calculating bovine TB testing intervals on a parish level.