Improving TB cattle controls, including a proposal for statutory post-movement testing

Closed 23 Oct 2015

Opened 28 Aug 2015


Defra is inviting views from stakeholders on a proposal for statutory TB post-movement testing of cattle moved (directly or via a market) from herds in Great Britain on annual (or more frequent) surveillance testing to all herds in the Low Risk Area (LRA) of England. This new policy would not apply to cattle slaughtered within 120 days of arrival at the destination herd in the LRA.  A small number of other post-movement testing exemptions are also proposed.

Also included within this consultation:

  • A proposal for a more robust approach for dealing with TB breakdowns in the High Risk Area (HRA).
  • A proposal to allow cattle to move to/from rented grazing within a 10 mile radius of the herd owner’s home premises without pre-movement testing.
  • A proposal to phase out Exempt Finishing Units in the LRA.
  • A proposal to reduce TB risks from Approved Finishing Units.
  • A call for views on options for reducing TB risks from sales of cattle from four-yearly tested herds.
  • A call for views on the case for enhanced TB surveillance in additional counties in the Edge Area.
  • A call for views on the situations in which private interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) blood testing could be permitted.
  • Updates on some other policy developments. 


We would welcome your views on the issues covered in our consultation.

Why your views matter

Bovine TB is the most pressing animal health problem in the UK. It is a devastating disease which threatens our cattle industry and presents a risk to other livestock as well as wildlife species (such as badgers), pets and humans. The Government remains determined to tackle bovine TB by all available means, including through enhanced cattle controls.

This consultation links to the wider strategy for achieving Officially Bovine Tuberculosis Free status for England. In proposing enhancements to TB cattle controls our aim is to strike a balance between robust disease control - aimed ultimately at achieving OTF status for England - and supporting a sustainable livestock industry. 

The proposals and initiatives set out in this document build on measures introduced by the previous Coalition Government, which included:

  • The tightening of pre-movement testing rules by removing exemptions for movements to and from common land and for movements within a Sole Occupancy Authority – June and October 2014 respectively.
  • Ending of partial de-restriction of TB breakdown herds and tightening of the rules for TB Isolation Units – October 2014.
  • Strengthening Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) scheme penalties for overdue TB tests – introduced January 2014 and extended in January 2015. 
  • Replacement of annual surveillance tests and radial testing around herd breakdowns with six-monthly surveillance testing of all herds in the Cheshire Edge Area – January 2015.


What happens next

Final decisions on whether to proceed with the proposals will be made by Ministers.


  • Animal welfare campaigners
  • Vets
  • Operators of animal gatherings
  • Abattoir Operator
  • Livestock show ground operators
  • Manufacturers of livestock identifiers
  • Government Departments
  • Government Agencies
  • Devolved Administrations
  • Farmers
  • Tenant Farmers
  • Agricultural Landlords
  • Agricultural Valuers
  • Trading Standards Officers


  • Dairy industry
  • Cattle
  • Animal diseases
  • Animal welfare
  • Livestock identification and movement
  • Single Payment Scheme (SPS)
  • Cross compliance
  • Common Agricultural Reform (CAP)
  • Livestock disease control
  • Meat Industry
  • Rural economy and communities
  • Common land
  • Industry organisations representing tenant farmers and landlords