Farmers will have to TB test all cattle inside six months before they go through marts or are traded from farm to farm under new animal health rules.
From February, cattle over 36 months must have had a TB test six months before they are traded or else cattle buyers who purchase untested stock will have to TB test them within 30 days of purchasing.
If animals are not tested within the 30 day timeframe, the herd will be locked up. This is the first phase of these new testing requirements and the rules will then be extended to all cattle.
The Department of Agriculture told the Irish Farmers Journal that “all bovines that are moving farm to farm or through a mart must be TB tested in the previous six months, and they must also be moving from a herd that has been tested in the last six months”.
“If they do not fulfil both these requirements then they must then be tested, either within the 30 days prior to movement or within 30 days after movement into the new herd.
“Where animals that move do not fall within the two testing interval requirements, the initial phase of implementation will see the requirement for pre- or post-movement test be activated in respect of cows and male animals greater than 36 months of age,” it said.
The Department has said that the requirement to ensure that the animals are tested in compliance with these requirements ultimately rests with the purchaser of the animals.
“Animals that require a test in the 30 days after movement will be restricted immediately to the herd into which they have moved. This herd has 30 days to carry out a test on those animals. If, after 30 days, the animals have not been TB tested, then the herd that received them will be restricted. If after another 30 days the animals have still not been tested, then the whole herd will be scheduled for a test,” it said.
It appears that farmers and cattle buyers will have to foot the bill for the extra testing.
Ray Doyle of the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society (ICOS) said that the “imposition of six month testing for all animals over three years of age will be an extra burden for trading livestock through the marts”.
However, he said: “The overall numbers of cattle affected by this change, we hope, will be small”.
“Over the next few years, as this becomes a requirement for all animals traded in the marts and indeed farm to farm, it is going to be a real cost issue for some farmers and let’s hope it delivers the intended effect of greatly reducing overall TB outbreaks in Ireland.”