Bovine Tuberculosis: Disease Control

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 24th March 2017.

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Photo of Caroline Lucas Caroline Lucas Co-Leader of the Green Party

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many herds have been subject to interferon gamma testing in each of the (a) low, (b) edge and (c) high-risk bovine tuberculosis control areas in each year from 2008 to 2016; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of George Eustice George Eustice The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Low, Edge and High-Risk Bovine Tuberculosis areas have only been in place since 2013. However, figures in the table below give figures retrospectively assuming the areas.

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

Edge

69

113

23

35

71

82

194

191

205

High

681

617

14

27

31

40

45

44

41

Low

36

44

42

36

22

52

32

45

42

The total number of herds subject to interferon gamma test in 2008 and 2009 are higher than in subsequent years because mandatory IFN-γ testing policy of animals that have been skin tested twice with inconclusive results became redundant and ended in 2010, when all three countries of Great Britain moved to a stricter policy of removing as reactors all those animals that failed to resolve at their first skin retest.

Between 2009 and 2016, the number of samples (animals) tested in England has quadrupled, with the largest increase taking place in the Edge Area.

IFN-γ testing of TB breakdown herds in the HRA is also about to be significantly increased from April 2017.

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