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HomeBeefNew TB testing rules: What farmers need to know
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnanehttps://www.thatsfarming.com/
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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New TB testing rules: What farmers need to know

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has agreed to introduce new mandatory TB testing requirements on a “phased basis”, Minister McConalogue has revealed.

The minister has confirmed that the DAFM will introduce the regulations in two phases, the first of which will begin on February 1st, 2023.

Minister McConalogue explained that the DAFM has yet to set a date for phase two, which will see the rule applied to all animals.

Phase two, he outlined, will only commence following engagement with farm organisations.

TB testing rules

These new regulations require bovine animals, cows of all ages and males over 36 months, moving farm to farm or through marts, to have been tested for TB within a certain time frame.

The requirements of phase one are that:

  1. Cows of all ages and males over the age of 36 months moving farm to farm or through a mart must have been TB tested in the last six months, and;
  2. They must also be moving from a herd that has been tested in the last six months.

The minister explained:

“If the animal being moved does not meet the requirements, it must be TB tested 30 days prior to or 30 days movement into the new herd.”

“The animal is restricted to the herd until the test is complete and clear. If the animal is alive and has not been TB tested within 30 days, the herd will be restricted. The animal must be tested within another 30 days.”

“If the animal is alive and has not been TB tested within another 30 days, then the herd will remain restricted, and the herd will be scheduled for a full herd TB test.”

The minister stated that these new requirements – which are applicable across all EU member states – are aimed at reducing the level of transmissible disease in animals, including bovines.

The introduction of the new TB testing requirements are as a result of the EU Animal Health Law Regulations 2016\429.

These regulations came into effect on April 1st, 2021 and are directly applicable across all EU member states.

Who will pay? 

The minister said most animals being moved currently satisfy these time intervals, and so in such cases, no additional testing will be required.

“Herdowners, either selling or buying animals, can time their annual herd test to coincide with the sale or purchase of animals.”

“If a herd owner wishes to re-schedule their annual herd test to an earlier date, to facilitate the sale or purchase of animals, they should contact their Regional Veterinary Office.”

“Herd owners may test those animals that have been moved in as part of their annual herd test or as part of a department-paid test where one is scheduled for completion, e.g., contiguous tests or post-de-restriction check tests.”

He stated that discussions are currently “ongoing” at the Financial Working Group about payment for any additional testing requirements.

The responsibility to ensure that animals are tested in compliance with these requirements “ultimately rests” with the purchaser, McConalogue stressed.

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