Farmers are being encouraged by the NFU to get behind a scheme that would see TB information supplied with cattle at the point of sale.
Defra’s imminent publication of the risk-based trading report puts the provision of TB information and herd history at the forefront of recommendations to help farmers in all TB risk areas assess the risks when buying livestock.
NFU Vice President Adam Quinney said: â€œThere is wide agreement there needs to be many approaches to tackling TB, one of which is better information for farmers when they are trading livestock. The key to unlocking this challenge is to empower farmers through better TB information at the point of sale.
â€œThe main recommendation of the risk-based trading group, which included broad representation from the livestock and dairy sectors, is the development of a comprehensive database which links both animal health and cattle movement data. We recognise that any database must be accessible to all in the supply chain, especially farmers and auctioneers.
â€œI know a number of these recommendations will be a challenge for some farmers and we will need to consider these recommendations and how they can be brought about practically in some detail. However the wider benefits of being able to buy and sell stock, knowing the risks, should allow farmers to purchase livestock with more confidence.â€
In the short-term the group recommended that animals are presented at the point of sale with the animalsâ€™ TB test date, the date of the last herd test, the date of the last routine herd test, and the length of time the herd has been TB officially free. Farmers will also be encouraged to look at the benefits of post-movement testing, with recommendations from the report for a post-movement test when itâ€™s considered appropriate.
The report also recommends that a comprehensive awareness campaign accompanies the introduction of any of the measures.