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HomeBeefGreen light for planned 3-week pause of TB testing in NI
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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Green light for planned 3-week pause of TB testing in NI

TB testing restrictions will come into effect in Northern Ireland in late August for a three-week period, two months later than initially planned.

The short pause coincides with the latest stage of DAERA’s new Northern Ireland Food Animal Information System (NIFAIS), which is now set to launch on Monday, September 4th, 2023.

NIFAIS will replace the existing Animal and Public Health Information System (APHIS), which has been in operation since 1998.

This phase brings in all remaining bovine functionality and opens the system to external stakeholders such as herd keepers, markets, abattoirs, and Private Veterinary Practitioners (PVPs).

According to a spokesperson for the DAERA, migrating all the remaining bovine data to NIFAIS from APHIS is a “complex process”.

The TB testing restrictions, from August 24th to September 11th, 2023, are to reduce the risk of data loss or corruption.

The TB testing restrictions will operate as follows:

  • Week 1 (w/c August 21st, 2023): only reactor herd tests will be tested on Monday and results read on Thursday.
  • Week 2 (w/c August 28th, 2023): no testing.
  • Week 3 (w/c September 4th, 2023): no TB testing to commence on Monday. Only reactor herd testing Tuesday – Saturday.
Arrange alternative date

DAERA is urging herd keepers, whose compulsory TB tests fall within this period, to contact their PVP now to arrange an alternative date to ensure they avoid going overdue, as restrictions will be imposed.

All tests can be started 30 days in advance of their due date, and it may be possible to arrange some non-reactor herd tests even earlier than this, if agreed with your local DAERA office.

DAERA is proactively moving test dates for many lateral check tests to minimise the number of herds requiring testing in this period and ensure capacity within the system for other tests to be completed.

This testing restriction period will be taken into account in any assessments for breaches of the Cross Compliance requirements for TB testing.

However, the statement from the DAERA adds, it remains the herd keeper’s responsibility to comply with TB testing requirements irrespective of these arrangements.

There may be a short delay in the removal of reactors due to a reduction in the processing of valuations on APHIS and the generation of movement licences, the spokesperson added.

The spokesperson added: “Any disruption will be kept to a minimum and reactors must remain isolated until removed. DAERA will be working with all parties to ensure any delays in paying compensation are minimised.”

“It will still be possible to export animals during the three-week period, but exporters are advised to plan ahead with their PVP to ensure any required tests are completed in time and prior to the restriction period.”

Tag suppliers will have restricted access to NIFAIS during the weekend September 2nd-September 3rd, 2023, so place orders in advance of this date where tags are required.

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