Proposed enhancements to bovine TB cattle control measures: tackling cattle-to-cattle transmission

Closed 11 Jul 2014

Opened 11 Jun 2014


Defra is inviting views from stakeholders on the impacts of a proposal to abolish (with effect from 1 October 2014) the current TB pre-movement testing exemption for movements within Sole Occupancy Authorities (SOAs) situated in annual TB testing areas in England.

Also included within this consultation are:

  • A call for views on whether cattle keepers should be legally required to provide the TB history of their herd when selling stock;
  • A call for views on compulsory post-movement testing of cattle (that are not going for slaughter) moved from herds in the Annual testing areas of England and Wales to herds in the Low Risk Area (LRA) of England; and
  • Notification that, from January 2015, we aim to extend the cross compliance rule for overdue routine TB surveillance and check tests to include all TB tests.


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 control measures.

In developing new or revised cattle controls we aim to strike a balance between robust disease control - aimed ultimately at achieving Officially Bovine Tuberculosis Free (OTF) status for England - while helping to support a sustainable livestock industry.     

Between November 2013 and January 2014 Defra consulted on proposals to:

  • Remove the pre-movement testing (PrMT) exemption for movements of cattle to and from common land – this change will come into effect on 30 June 2014.
  • Phase out the practice of partially de-restricting TB-restricted premises – we are on track to achieve this by 1 October 2014.
  • No longer allow TB Isolation Units – following the previous consultation, and further consideration of the implications for disease control, Ministers have concluded that the option of establishing a TB Isolation Unit should continue to be available.  However, the operating rules will be tightened such that from 1 October 2014 new TB Isolation Units will only be approved if they are clearly separated from the main herd, including by being registered to a different County Parish Holding (CPH).  
  • Revise The Tuberculosis (England) Order 2007 to make it clear that wild and untestable cattle may be compulsorily slaughtered – the Order was amended to reflect this change on 6 April 2014; and
  • Publish location details of bovine TB breakdowns as a matter of course – we are currently working on the details of this. 


Cross Compliance Rules: TB

Timely bovine TB testing of cattle herds is a key biosecurity and disease control measure. Cattle keepers who fail to complete their TB tests on time increase disease risks not only for their own herds but also for all their neighbours. Since 1 January 2014 cattle keepers in England who fail to complete routine TB surveillance or check tests by prescribed deadlines face having their farming subsidies reduced under a ‘zero tolerance’ approach. AHVLA provide the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) with details of all farmers who have not arranged for TB surveillance and check tests to be carried out by the due date.

Using the existing cross compliance rules, RPA apply a percentage reduction to the CAP Scheme payments (including Pillar 1 - Single Payment Scheme (SPS) and Pillar 2 - Rural Development Scheme payments) claimed by those farmers who have not completed  their herd’s TB test by the due deadline. The level of reduction depends on how long the test was overdue, and other relevant criteria such as repeated instances of overdue testing.

From 1 January 2015 we aim to extend our ‘zero tolerance’ cross-compliance approach (currently only relevant for TB surveillance and check tests) to include all types of TB tests.  



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


  • Natural environment
  • Animals
  • Dairy industry
  • Cattle
  • Animal diseases
  • Animal welfare
  • Livestock identification and movement
  • Single Payment Scheme (SPS)
  • Cross compliance
  • Livestock disease control
  • Meat Industry