Restricting cattle herds based on inconclusive TB results is a step too far, ICSA animal health and welfare chair Hugh Farrell has said.

He said the Department of Agriculture was wrong to introduce new TB protocols around the removal of inconclusives in advance of the substantive issues around compensation being decided upon at the TB Forum.

“The work of the TB Forum is not complete without the matters around compensation being resolved. Yet, the Department have moved ahead and introduced further measures that will impact farmers financially. This is grossly unfair,” he said.

The revised guidance from the Department is that when a breakdown occurs, cattle which previously tested inconclusive within the herd should be removed as in-contacts, and that when four or more inconclusives are disclosed at a herd test, they should be deemed reactors, according to the ICSA.

Too far

Farrell said the ICSA does not dispute the need for the guidelines around inconclusives to be firmed up, but restricting herds based on inconclusive results is a step too far.

“Inconclusives should not be deemed reactors unless they are part of a TB breakdown and a herd should not be locked-up on the basis of having inconclusives alone under any circumstances.

“Farmers deserve scientific proof that there is TB on their farm if they are to be expected to take a big financial hit by being locked-up. Can they give us a definition of what exactly an inclonclusive is, or how farmers can have any confidence in a system that would be based on completely subjective analysis?” he asked.


The ICSA is insisting that a clear result at an annual herd test should be valid for one year.

“Too many farmers are receiving notifications about doing their herd tests months in advance of their due date. Being forced to complete herd tests early is unacceptable as the herd has been deemed in-test, and this should remain the case for a period of 12 months, and no less.”

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