Bovine Tuberculosis: Disease Control

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 13th July 2021.

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Photo of Rachael Maskell Rachael Maskell Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what progress has been made on testing cattle for Bovine TB.

Photo of Victoria Prentis Victoria Prentis The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

TB surveillance and control measures in cattle herds are the foundations on which our TB eradication strategy is based. We have significantly reinforced our cattle measures over the last ten years and continually look for opportunities to enhance them further, while balancing the need to ensure we retain economically sustainable beef and dairy sectors.

A number of changes to TB testing have been, or will very soon be, introduced. From July 2021, most cattle herds in the English TB High Risk Area will be subject to routine surveillance for TB using the tuberculin skin test every six months instead of annually. Later in July 2021 the criteria for interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) blood testing of cattle in the HRA and parts of the Edge Area of England will be changing, with mandatory testing of herds that suffer a new TB breakdown within 18 months of the end of a previous incident. By the end of this year APHA will be opening a third IFN-γ testing laboratory to better cope with the projected increasing demand for this supplementary cattle TB test.

Further information about these two cattle TB testing policy changes can be found on the TB Hub:

Further work to take forward the commitments in the March 2020 Government response to the Independent Bovine TB Strategy Review led by Professor Sir Charles Godfray are either in progress or are being planned, and were set out in a recent Call for Views exercise which can be found at

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