TB testing intervals 2014

Defra, the Welsh Government and the Scottish Government are committed to setting routine TB testing intervals for herds of cattle, buffalo and bison that reflect the regional risks of bovine TB and comply with EU legislation. This is achieved by carrying out, with AHVLA, a national review of TB testing intervals on an annual basis.

Historically, the TB herd testing intervals were calculated by monitoring the incidence of TB breakdowns in a given area in the previous six years. The administrative area used in the majority of cases was the parish. The annual review was therefore called the ‘parish testing interval’ review (PTI).

Different approaches are now taken in England, Scotland and Wales, which are explained below.

2014 TB testing intervals for England, Wales and Scotland

Find out the testing interval for 2014 that applies to your area using the testing interval search tool. Alternatively, download the complete lists of counties and parishes for England, Scotland and Wales below.

A GB map of the TB testing intervals which apply in 2014 is available:

England

On 1 January 2013, a simplified TB surveillance testing regime was introduced for commercial cattle, buffalo and bison herds in England. TB testing intervals for bovines are now determined on a county basis rather than by parishes and are either one or four years. This is based on disease risk and cost-effective TB surveillance and ensures stable routine TB testing intervals.

The south west and west of England (and East Sussex), which incorporates the ‘high risk’ and ‘edge’ areas of the country, are on annual TB testing. The rest of the country, which has a very low incidence of TB and is referred to as the ‘Low Risk Area’, is on background four-yearly TB testing.

Since 2013 there are no herds or areas on two- or three-yearly testing. In addition, there is more intensive surveillance testing (radial testing) around any herds in the Low Risk Area and parts of the Edge Area that have their officially TB free status withdrawn due to a TB breakdown.

The Edge Area is the part of the annual testing area of England adjoining the Low Risk Area. It consists of the counties of Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Hampshire, and parts of the counties of Cheshire, Derbyshire, Warwickshire, Oxfordshire and East Sussex. There is no evidence that bovine TB has become established in the Edge Area. Even so, herds in this part of England are put on annual TB testing because the infection is either currently spreading in those counties or because there is a risk that it will spread in the short to medium term, so early detection of any cattle herds in the Edge Area that become infected is vital to slow down this spread and help protect the Low Risk Area of England.

HIGH RISK AREA

EDGE AREA

LOW RISK AREA

Avon Berkshire Bedfordshire
Cheshire (PART) Buckinghamshire Cambridgeshire
Cornwall Cheshire (PART) Cumbria
Derbyshire (PART) Derbyshire (PART) Essex
Devon East Sussex (PART) Greater Manchester
Dorset Hampshire Hertfordshire
East Sussex (PART) Leicestershire Humberside
Gloucestershire Northamptonshire Isle Of Wight
Hereford & Worcester Nottinghamshire Kent
Oxfordshire (PART) Oxfordshire (PART) Lancashire
Shropshire Warwickshire (PART) Lincolnshire
Somerset   Merseyside
Staffordshire   Norfolk
Warwickshire (PART)   Northumberland
West Midlands   North Yorkshire
Wiltshire   South Yorkshire
    Suffolk
    Surrey
    West Sussex

Please read the question and answer (PDF) document and the policy (PDF) document for more details on the approach to TB testing intervals in England for 2014.

The TB testing intervals in England that came into effect on 1 January 2013 will remain unchanged for 2014 and are detailed below in the ‘England TI List’. AHVLA is writing to herd owners individually to confirm their testing interval (TI) and herd testing interval (HTI).

The testing interval will in most cases be the default frequency at which you will be expected to carry out routine testing of your herd. However, specific herds in counties with a four-yearly background testing interval may be put on annual testing by virtue of a particular risk of TB associated to a certain type of cattle enterprise, or in response to a temporary threat of TB in the locality. The herd testing interval (HTI) is the testing frequency that applies to your own herd of cattle and this may differ from the area testing interval.

In England, herd owners will be written to annually, following the review, to advise them of their TB testing intervals.

All herds with an annual testing interval have to comply with statutory pre-movement TB testing requirements, unless an exemption applies to the animals being moved. So, even if your herd is located in the low risk (four-yearly tested) area of England, you will also be required to pre-movement test your cattle if the herd is, for instance, undergoing radial testing as a result of a TB breakdown on a neighbouring infected farm. See further information on pre-movement testing.

Wales

A minimum routine testing frequency of once yearly has been in force across Wales since 2010, in order to ensure the effective surveillance of herds believed to be free of disease and to support the drive towards eradication of the disease. Herds located within the Intensive Action Area (IAA) in South-West Wales have been subject to a minimum routine testing frequency of twice yearly since January 2010 as part of the additional cattle controls in place in this area.

The Welsh Government has decided that it will retain a minimum routine testing frequency of once yearly throughout Wales in 2014, except in the IAA where it will be six-monthly.

As a consequence of annual testing, all cattle keepers in Wales have to comply with pre-movement testing requirements on cattle movements since 1 January 2010. See further information on pre-movement testing.

Herd owners in Wales will only be written to if their TB testing interval changes.

Scotland

Scotland have been designated as Officially Tuberculosis Free (OTF) since September 2009 and as a result, in January 2012, changes were introduced to routine herd testing for TB whereby “low risk” herds were exempted from the normal default testing interval of 48 months that will apply to all other non-exempt herds.

In order to be defined as “low risk” a herd must comply with one of the following criteria:

  • herds with fewer than 20 cattle which have had fewer than 2 consignments of cattle moved on from high incidence TB areas (including Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland) in the previous 4 years
  • herds that slaughter* more than 25% of their stock annually and have had fewer than 2 consignments of cattle moved on from high incidence TB areas (including Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland) in the previous 4 years
  • herds that slaughter* more than 40% of their stock annually

*Slaughtered animals refers to animals that have been on the holding for at least 60 days that move either direct from farm to slaughterhouse, or direct from farm to market and then direct to slaughterhouse. Animals moving onto another holding temporarily between market and slaughterhouse are not included. The slaughter rate is calculated on the total number of cattle slaughtered in a slaughterhouse in the previous calendar year divided by the herd size (total stock on farm on 1 January).

AHVLA will reassess each individual herds eligibility for exemption annually and will write to all cattle keepers in Scotland advising whether or not their herd is exempt from TB testing.

The link below is a list of parishes in Scotland and their TB testing intervals.

Page published: 19 November 2013