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Bovine Tuberculosis: Disease Control

Volume 458: debated on Wednesday 14 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what change there has been in the incidence of TB in the badger population in the last 12 months; (126598)

(2) what assessment he has made of the effect of change in the incidence of TB in the badger population on the incidence of TB in cattle.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 7 March 2007, Official Report columns 2005-06W.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what assessment his Department has made of the impact of bovine tuberculosis testing on small scale sales of livestock, including auction marts; (127455)

(2) what assessment his Department has made of the impact of the cost of tuberculosis testing of farms with small numbers of livestock.

The impact of pre-movement testing on livestock markets and small herd owners was considered in a regulatory impact assessment (RIA), which is available on the DEFRA website at:

www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/tb/pdf/prmt-regulatory.pdf

I have arranged for copies of this document to be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Options are available to obviate the need for pre-movement testing. Exempt markets and exempt finishing units provide a route for moving and marketing cattle that normally should be pre-movement tested without being tested. Herd owners can also discuss with their local Animal Health Divisional Office the possibility of utilising their routine surveillance test as pre-movement tests by moving it forward to coincide with the time of year that they make their peak cattle movements.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he has taken to improve the management of private vets in their undertaking of state-funded tuberculosis testing since the DNV Consulting report on veterinary surgeons within the Meat Hygiene Service. (126237)

Staff from the Meat Hygiene Service (MHS) do not carry out TB testing on live cattle. The DNV consulting report, “Review of TB Testing”, considered testing by local veterinary inspectors and staff within the State Veterinary Service (SVS) only.

A CD-rom training package is being prepared for use by all veterinary surgeons undertaking TB testing, which will be rolled out shortly. The instructions for carrying out the test have also been revised. The management of private veterinary surgeons in relation to TB testing is being reviewed as part of the “Official Veterinarian” Reform programme. The aim of this programme is to create a more formal relationship with the practitioner in terms of quality assurance etcetera. A pilot is due to start next month.