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Covid-19: TB testing protocol – what is changing?

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, has, today (Wednesday, April 1st), issued an updated TB testing protocol.

Farmers, who delay herd tests due to Covid-19 issues, will be provided with an extra 28 days after their test due date, where trade will be facilitated before the status of the herd will be suspended, according to IFA animal health chairman, Pat Farrell.

He said the exemption of calves under 120 days from a TB test requirement in clear herds is a significant step. “It helps farmers and vets carry out tests in a much safer environment, and critically these animals remain eligible for internal trade.”

In its statement, the Department said: “Calves under 120 days of age should not be TB tested, other than for reactor retests or for export.”

“Maintaining trade and the ability to trade for the maximum number of farmers in the current crisis is essential.  TB testing is a key element of this as current trade rules dictate,” he said.

Key concerns

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Farrell said the updated protocol addresses some of the key concerns raised by the farm organisation in relation to TB testing and ensures farmers who need to test can continue to do so in a much safer way.

“These new measures follow the facilitation of test delays by the Department of Agriculture last week for farmers and vets who have Covid-19 concerns.  Farmers should contact their RVO if they have any concerns,” he said.

The farm organisation said it will remain in regular contact with the Department of Agriculture on this issue as the situation evolves. “It’s vital farmers are facilitated in trading their animals and accessing vital export markets throughout this very difficult time,” he concluded.

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