Bovine Tuberculosis (TB) control programme

Below is a summary of DAERA's TB Control Programme, including testing, the slaughter of TB reactor animals, movement controls and compensation. This page also provides information on the Bovine Tuberculosis Control Scheme (NI) 2016.

Annual testing

Annual testing of all herds is mandatory.

TB testing is undertaken only by DAERA approved Veterinary Surgeons, using the Single Intradermal Comparative Cervical Test (SICCT).

All animals slaughtered for human consumption undergo Post Mortem Examination (PME). Results are available on the Animal and Public Health Information System (APHIS) immediately.

All herds in NI at all times are allocated an official tuberculosis (OT) herd status, a herd status reason, and a next test type. The herd status may only be officially tuberculosis free (OTF), officially tuberculosis free status suspended (OTS), or officially tuberculosis free status withdrawn (OTW).
Failure to test a herd on an annual basis results in the OTF status being suspended immediately in all cases.

Further delay in testing will result in automatic increased movement sanctions and downgrading the herd status to OTW.

A non-negative (inconclusive) result at a second consecutive skin test for an animal results in mandatory removal as a reactor.

Herdkeepers may be advised to slaughter the animal at any time during this period.

Contiguous tests are undertaken in herds that are deemed at risk to adjacent infected herds.

Slaughter of TB reactor animals

TB reactors are removed by DAERA subcontracted hauliers for immediate slaughter.

Slaughter may occasionally include full herd depopulation if considered necessary to stop spread of the disease.

In the case of total herd depopulations the following action is taken:

  • no animals are allowed to move into the premises for 60 days following the depopulation. A no stock restricted herd test must be completed at this stage prior to the level of movement restriction being amended to allow purchase of cattle.
  • a full cleansing and disinfection is required after depopulation.This must be inspected by a DAERA Veterinary Officer and passed as satisfactory.
  • the herdkeeper is advised of the control of risk from slurry.
  • two months after re-stocking a TB test is required. If this test occurs within a year of the breakdown it is classed as a 2nd restricted herd test (RH2) test.  If the RH2 is clear the restriction is removed and then a post restriction test (CHT) is set for six months later and an Annual Herd Test set twelve months after the completion of a clear post-restriction test provided no risk factors are identified.  If a farm premises is depopulated for more than 12 months then the restriction is removed at 12 months and the test following the purchase of animals is classed as an Annual Herd Test.

Movement controls

All calves born after 1 January 1998 must be identified with an ear tag in each ear within 20 days from the birth of the animal. All cattle identification numbers are authorised by DAERA and recorded on the Animal and Public Health Information System (APHIS) computer database so that no duplication should be possible.

Movement control from all herds, at all times, is controlled by a combination of the OT herd status and status reason applicable to the herd. As all movements must be recorded on APHIS, including those to market and abattoir, immediate movement control is applied.

Since the year 2000 the implementation of movement control documents require a producer to notify the Department within 7 days of an animals either leaving or arriving on his/her farm. Markets are required to notify movements on and off to the Department by the end of the next working day. However, in the case of a restricted animal the producer is required to obtain a movement licence from the Department in advance of moving the animal out of his/her herd. All movements are recorded and can be traced on APHIS.

Herds with either OTS or OTW status applied are both subject to movement restrictions immediately.  This is controlled through APHIS.

Where a non breakdown herd test becomes overdue, increasingly stringent movement controls are applied routinely as below:

  • immediately overdue, no live moves to market, export, or other holdings.
  • 1 month overdue, no live moves to market, export, other holdings or slaughter. No moves in are allowed except one breeding bull on exceptional licence.

All animals over 42 days are subject to the single intradermal test and interpretation within 30 days of export.

Compensation

Currently DAERA pay compensation for animals testing positive for TB at 100% of the market value for the animal/animals involved.

Valuations to determine market value are decided by agreement between a Department valuer and the owner of the animal, or failing agreement the owner can select and pay for an independent valuer (drawn from a DARD list) to assess the value of the animal/animals concerned.

Should there still be disagreement about a valuation, the Department (DAERA) or the owner of the animal may submit an appeal to a tribunal of persons, appointed by the Department - the Valuation Appeals Panel. The Panels’ findings are binding.

The Bovine Tuberculosis Control Scheme (NI) 2016

Please note that this scheme comes into effect as of 1 October 2016.

Introduction

Bovine Tuberculosis (TB) is an animal disease included in the list of animal diseases established by the World Organisation for Animal Health in Annex II to Regulation (EU) No 652/2014.

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs tests all bovine animals for TB in accordance with its compulsory public prevention and eradication programme. Full details of the Department’s statutory powers and its control policy are published on the Bovine Tuberculosis (TB).

Those pages explain how:

  • the Department provides a subsidised service for the costs of health checks, tests and other screening measures
  • farmers may receive compensation for losses incurred as a result of its control programme in accordance with the Bovine Tuberculosis Control Scheme (Northern Ireland) 2016 ("the Scheme"), as well as the conditions of the Scheme and how compensation is claimed and calculated

State aid

Both the subsidised service and the compensation paid to farmers under this Scheme constitute State aid within the meaning of the Articles 107 - 109 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (consolidated version). All aid paid under this Scheme is in full compliance with Commission Regulation (EU) 702/2014 and, in particular, with Article 1 and Article 26 of that Regulation (Official Journal reference OJ L 193 1.7.2014, pages 1 to 75).

Eligibility

The Scheme is open to all small and medium-sized agricultural holdings (farms) within Northern Ireland active in the primary production of agricultural products (Article 1 of Commission Regulation (EU) 702/2014) that:

  • are subject to the Department's compulsory public prevention and eradication programme
  • in relation to compensation payments, incur losses caused by an outbreak of TB formally recognised by the Department (Article 26.10(a) of Commission Regulation (EU) 702/2014)

Objectives of the aid

The objectives of this Scheme are to prevent and eradicate TB in Northern Ireland and to compensate farmers for losses in respect of animals slaughtered under the Department's TB prevention and eradication control programme.

Subsidised service

The "Bovine Tuberculosis (TB)" pages of the website provide, as stated above, full details of the health checks, analyses, tests and other screening measures carried out under the Scheme (see links at side of page). In accordance with Article 26.13 of Commission Regulation (EU) 702/2014, the aid will not exceed 100% of the eligible costs.

Compensation - eligible loses

Aid will be limited to losses caused, as stated above, by an outbreak of TB formally recognised by the Department in accordance with Article 26.10 of Commission Regulation (EU) 702/2014 (i.e. animals slaughtered as part of the Department’s TB prevention and eradication control programme).

Calculation of compensation

Compensation will be limited to 100% of market value for animals slaughtered as a result of TB.

The market value shall be established on the basis of the value of the animals immediately before any suspicion or confirmation of TB (Article 26.9 of Commission Regulation (EU) 702/2014 refers).

In no situation will compensation exceed 100% of the market value (Article 26.13 of Commission Regulation (EU) 702/2014 refers).

Compensation payments rely on individual valuations carried out by a livestock valuation officer of the Department and, in the case of a disagreement over the Department’s valuation, on a second individual valuation carried out by an independent valuer. There is ultimate recourse, for both the farmer and the Department, to a Valuation Appeals Panel appointed by the Department.

A Senior Livestock Valuation Officer from the Department is responsible for ensuring that valuations are consistent across Northern Ireland and also for monitoring current market values in order to ensure that valuations reflect market trends.

Reductions to losses eligible for aid

The maximum amount of loss eligible for aid will be reduced by:

  • any amount received under insurance schemes for the relevant losses (applicants to the Scheme having to provide a declaration stating whether such payments have been received) (Article 26.13 of Commission Regulation (EU)702/2014 refers); and
  • costs not incurred by the disease, which would otherwise have been incurred (Article 26.9 of Commission Regulation (EU)702/2014 refers).

Appeals

There is, as stated above, ultimate recourse, for both the herdkeeper and the Department, to a Valuation Appeals Panel (“the Panel”) appointed by the Department.

Submission of appeal

The appeal (together with the required fee of £100 in the case of a herdkeeper) must be sent to the Appeals Secretariat within 30 working days of the determination of market value to which it relates.

Appellants must indicate at the time of submission of the appeal whether or not they wish to attend the Panel’s review of the appeal. If appellants opt to attend the review or nominate someone to attend on their behalf, they will be contacted and notified of the date, time and location of the review. Appellants are notified in writing of the outcome and reasoning for the decision reached.

The Appeals Secretariat notifies appellants of the Panel’s decision as quickly as possible, giving the facts upon which their appeal was considered, the reasons for the decision reached and the effect of that decision on the payment of compensation.

For more information please contact:

TB & Brucellosis Policy Branch
Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs
Room 650, Dundonald House
Upper Newtownards Road
Ballymiscaw
BELFAST
BT4 3SB

E-mail: tbbr.policybranch@daera-ni.gov.uk

for more information on health checks, analyses, tests and other screening measures carried out under the Scheme, please visit our Bovine Tuberculosis section.

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