Could New TB Rules Affect Cattle Entries at Shows?13 April 2016
Defra’s proposed changes in rules for the movement and testing of cattle in the UK raises as many questions as answers for one Lancashire farmer and former barrister, Simon Temple told Neil Ryder.
Cattle entries at this year’s and future agricultural shows would be seriously hit by newly introduced testing and movement regulations aimed at controlling the spread of bovine tuberculosis, believes farmer and former barrister, Simon Temple.
Mr Temple of Stockabank Farm, Quernmore, Lancaster shows cattle from his Bowland Red Poll herd so will be affected by the changes. He has checked his facts with APHA and the NFU and says that while confirming his information is correct neither showed particular concern at its implications.
He said: “I fully support all efforts to deal with bovine tuberculosis but feel that these new regulations are poorly thought out and too draconian.
“Under the rules, as first set out, if a bovine from a holding within a LRA [Low Risk Area] for bovine tuberculosis goes to a show or event in a HRA [High Risk Area], including the Edge Area, stays there more than 24 hours and/or is housed whilst there and then returns back to the LRA, that animal cannot move off the receiving holding until it has passed a Post Movement Test.
“As that test has to be completed between 60 and 120 days after the return to the LRA it means that the animal cannot go to any other show whether in the LRA or HRA for more than 2 months. How many exhibitors from the LRA will decide that such a restriction is not worthwhile? The result will be far less cattle from LRAs attending such shows as the Royal Welsh.”
Mr Temple said that there were various areas of confusion in the new guidance, including differing rules for shows and markets.
"What happens, for example, If the animal is not sold at the market for whatever reason and is taken home? The Guidance refers to cattle being sold but surely it must also apply to those not sold? If a show is held at a livestock market do the show provisions apply, requiring a post movement test, or the Market provisions? Would it be different if it was a show and sale held at a market, as is often the case?”
Chairman of the Association of Show and Agricultural Organisations (ASAO) and chief executive of Westmorland Agricultural Society, Christine Knipe said: “Both organisations are fully supportive of all work towards eradicating bovine tuberculosis. The new regulations have been introduced over a short time period, are extremely complex and we are getting different messages from government bodies involved.
“The changes affect movement between High and Low Risk areas – movements within these areas are not affected. While Cumbria is a low risk area, Westmorland County Showground is within a surveillance area and we are getting mixed response as to how that is affected by the new regulations.
“All the evidence is that there is there is very little risk of transmission of bovine tuberculosis at shows. Here at Westmorland and an increasing number of other shows we have made pre-movement TB testing a condition of entry for cattle. Apart from biosecurity, this puts all cattle at the show on the same footing.
“What we would like to see is compulsory pre-movement testing for all cattle being shown and no post-movement testing. This would be simple and clear. Within ASAO we are already seeing exhibitors withdrawing cattle entries simply because of the problems meeting the new regulations.
"For those who would normally exhibit number of shows they may now be limited to attending just one or two shows.
“It is clear that there will be far less cattle at shows while this legislation is place. Simply it is badly thought out and another kick in the teeth for and industry that is already suffering.”
For more on the new regulations, visit www.tbhub.co.uk.