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All Wales cattle checked for bovine TB

1 January 2010 - BBC News

Tests for bovine TB on all cattle herds in Wales have shown the disease is more widespread than thought. The 15-month initiative involved 13,130 herds as part of a Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) package to eradicate the disease in Wales. The initiative resulted in the slaughter of 185 cattle from 96 herds previously thought to be clear. Sixty two of these herds were in north Wales, an area not previously thought to be at risk.

Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones (elin.jones@wales.gov.uk) said TB Health Check Wales had given a clear picture of disease levels in Wales. "It has also helped to stop the disease from establishing itself in new areas," she said. "This is due to early identification of incidents of the disease, and rapid removal of the sources of infection," she added. Jones said the tests had a "real impact" in areas such as north Wales where bovine TB was not thought to be a significant problem. "Prior to this initiative cattle in the area were only tested every four years. Thanks to the health check herds in these areas have been tested, and removed if infected, much sooner," she added.

Dr Christianne Glossop, Wales' chief vet said "As with any animal health problem we need to identify the problem and get rid of it quickly to stop infection from spreading. There were 1,126 new cases of herds going down with TB were discovered in the past year. This is on top of the farms that were already under restrictions. So while the health check has helped us contain the disease in some areas, in the areas where the disease is now endemic, we need to use different measures."

From January too all cattle herds in Wales will require an annual test and all cattle must be tested before moving them. This will make Welsh farmers compliant with new regulations for moving cattle from Wales to Scotland which is officially TB free.

For more information, please click the following link:

Technical Note: TB Health Check Wales is a one-off test for bovine TB of all cattle herds in Wales that began on 1 October 2008 and runs until 31 December 2009. An additional 3,500 herds will be tested during the period.
The TB Health Check Wales is a key stage of the WAG’s £27.7 m TB eradication programme and will provide a means of achieving a more detailed understanding of the current level and location of bovine TB across Wales, so that informed decisions can be made.
Tests which are already due within this period will be included as part of the Health Check. The test used will be the tuberculin skin test which is the internationally accepted standard for the detection of bovine TB, and is considered the best test currently available for detecting tuberculosis in live animals. All animals over 42 days old will be tested.