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Bovine Tuberculosis: Costs

Volume 470: debated on Wednesday 23 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate his Department has made of the average cost to a farmer of (a) veterinary bills and (b) labour for pre-movement testing for cattle for bovine tuberculosis. (178363)

Pre-movement tests are a private transaction between individual farmers and their local veterinary inspector.

The cost to the farmer of pre-movement testing has been updated in the light of experience and to reflect an independent survey on veterinary capacity and costs. The revised assessment of costs and benefits of pre-movement testing uses a value of £9.60 per animal (£7.10 veterinary cost, 50p tuberculin, £2.00 cost to farmer) as the average cost of pre-movement testing.

The updated assessment and the independent survey are both available on the DEFRA website.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the average cost to the public purse is of pre-movement testing of an individual animal for bovine tuberculosis. (178364)

All bovine tuberculosis (TB) pre-movement tests must be arranged and paid for by the herd owner. As there are benefits to the herd owner of buying or selling cattle with some degree of disease assurance, herd owners are expected to cover the costs of the local veterinary inspectors' time to carry out pre-movement tests while Government funds the provision of tuberculin. The average cost of tuberculin per animal tested is estimated at 50 pence.