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Biosecurity breaches and failing to test on cattle movement, court cases re testing

 Added by  Sally
 25 May 2011, 1:16 PM

The UK governments tell us that addressing biosecurity risks are a vital part of controlling/eradicating bovine TB yet we are hearing of incidents where the rules are being flouted.

A PEMBROKESHIRE farmer who made a fortune buying and selling cattle on the black market has been jailed today, August 23.
Paul Vizza, aged 57, dealt in cows the authorities knew nothing about and could not monitor. Vizza admitted an array of animal welfare offences including moving animals without licences, failing to maintain a cattle passport system and proper animal identification systems and failing to notify animal deaths.
He was jailed for six months and ordered to pay £20,000 in prosecution costs.
Judge Paul Thomas also confiscated £143,000, which he ruled represented some of the profit Vizza had made.
Swansea crown court heard how Vizza maintained a dairy herd at Brynfa Farm, Hermon, Glogue near Fishguard.
Alexander Greenwood, prosecuting, said there had been a history going back several years of Vizza failing to comply with legislation designed to prevent the spread of animal diseases, in particular TB.
Vizza was responsible for "hundreds of failings" over a number of years.
There had been numerous animal movements from and onto his farm despite many warnings that he needed licences.
When inspectors arrived they invariably found more or fewer cows on the farm than there should have been, and it was clear Vizza had been buying and selling without even telling the authorities.
During the period Vizza set up P A Vizza Developments Ltd and he was the sole director and shareholder.
As the authorities closed in and began warning him of prosecution, he protested he was mentally ill and failed to provide documentation, attend meetings or answer questions.
And, after he had been charged, he did not comply with a Proceeds of Crime Act investigation aimed at discovering how much he had made. At one stage, said Mr Greenwood, he claimed he had "completely forgotten" that his company owned a £2m farm near the village of Steynton. Judge Thomas said he had no doubt Vizza had deliberately flouted the law to make money and that, as the net began to close, he salted it away. He said he accepted that Vizza had suffered mental illness but believed he had exaggerated the extent to try and explain his failings to comply with the rules.
There appeared to have been 458 animal movements the authorities could not monitor and at least 143 sales that would have involved moving cows off the farm without licences. He described Vizza as dishonest and devious and said most of his so called explanations were simply unbelievable.
Judge Thomas said Vizza would serve an extra 18-month sentence if he did not pay the £143,000 within three months and six months if he failed to pay the £20,000 within six months.
"The message has to go out that these regulations are important for the safety of cattle and the public," he added.
Shaftesbury farmer fined for illegally moving cattle and falsifying calf identity
A Shaftesbury farmer has been fined for illegally moving cattle to and from his farm while under a movement restriction and for falsifying records relating to the identity of calves.
Identification of cattle and movement restrictions are in place to help prevent disease spread in livestock and to provide traceability for animals entering the food chain. Brian Garrett, aged 76, of Fernbrook Farm, Gillingham Road was prosecuted following an investigation by trading standards officers from Dorset County Council.
Officers visited Mr Garrett’s farm on 4 July 2017 to inspected his cattle. When they returned to the farm three days later they noted that several of these cattle were no longer on the farm. When questioned, Garrett declined to say where the cattle had gone. Officers also used DNA tests to check the identity of two of the calves, revealing them to be false. It was found that Garrett had ordered replacement ear tags for these calves to change their identity.
Mr Garrett appeared before Weymouth Magistrates’ Court on Monday 4 February and pleaded guilty to six offences under the Cattle Identification Regulations 2007. The Court heard that Mr Garrett’s farm was inspected by the Rural Payment Agency in 2014 who found some serious discrepancies in his calf record keeping. As a result of this they requested the return of a number of calf passports.
Mr Garrett continually refused and so in 2016 he was served a notice restricting the movement of all cattle onto or off the farm. Since that date the court heard Mr Garrett had moved cattle on numerous occasions up to January 2019. He was prosecuted in relation to 16 of the illegally moved cattle.
Councillor Andrew Parry, Cabinet member with lead responsibility for Trading Standards, said: ‘Intervention by our trading standards officers is an important part of providing protection for the food chain. There are long established rules on recording the identity of cattle to provide traceability, confidence and reduce the spread of disease.’ Mr Garrett was fined a total of £1250 plus a £135 victim surcharge and ordered to pay £2600 in costs to the county council.
Info from:
Farmer injected cows to fake TB result for compensation (how common is this one wonders and are some farmers getting away with it?)
A farmer injected five cattle with a type of diesel in order to fake a positive bovine tuberculosis (TB) result and claim compensation, health officers have said. The farmer, who has not been named, admitted tampering with the animals after hearing of others doing the same. They admitted the offence to Ceredigion council, citing financial pressures on the family business as the motivation. The perpetrator has accepted a caution for interfering with a TB test.
Testing of the offender's herd was carried out in December 2016.
In a statement, the farmer admitted injecting the animals with a hydrocarbon liquid to mimic the results of a positive TB test before the vet returned to check the results.
Gareth Lloyd, cabinet member for public protection in Ceredigion, said: "It's simply not acceptable that this abhorrent practice is taking place, as it tarnishes all law abiding and responsible farmers.
"The council will not hesitate to deal with such cases as they arise, to stamp out such blatant criminal activity."
Info from: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-46593004
A Carmarthen farmer has been prosecuted for moving cattle while his farm was under TB restrictions.
David Grant Hartman pleaded guilty at Llanelli Magistrates Court on Friday to four offences under the TB (Wales) Order 2010 in a prosecution brought by Carmarthenshire Council.
The court was told that Mr Hartman's farm, Trebersed Farm at Travellers Rest, was put under TB restrictions which are supposed to prevent the movement of cattle onto or off a farm. These restrictions are put in place to reduce the potential of the spread of TB and to reduce existing breakdowns. Despite these restrictions the defendant moved dairy cows onto his farm on three separate occasions.
The investigation also discovered that cows declared as inconclusive reactors, animals that tests had neither confirmed to have TB nor shown to be free of TB, which must be isolated from the rest of the herd, had not been isolated as required.
Mr Hartman said that he had been under financial pressures and had brought animals onto the farm in order to keep up his milk yields.
ttp://www.southwales-eveningpost.co.uk/carmarthen-farmer-prosecuted-for-flouting-tb-restriction- order/story-29829729- detail/story.html#XLUm3iPS0z7aha2I.99

Abergavenny farmer Beverly Baker of Llangattock Park Farm, trading as B E Baker & Sons Ltd., has pleaded guilty to 11 offences under the Animal Health Act 1981 following breaches of the Tuberculosis (Wales) Order 2010, with another 80 asked to be taken into consideration.
Following a long investigation by Monmouthshire’s Trading Standards service, animal health officers identified that numerous cattle had been moved illegally between premises under TB restrictions. The premises had been under restriction for a number of years and B E Baker & Sons Ltd were required to obtain a licence from the Animal Health Agency (now the Animal and Plant Health Agency) to move any cattle. This had not happened despite the restriction notices clearly stating such a requirement.
On Friday 8th May 2015 at Cardiff Crown Court B E Baker and Sons Limited were subject to a Proceeds of Crime Order for £112,500 and £13,000 costs with conditional discharges given for each offence.
Monmouthshire’s cabinet member for public protection, Councillor Giles Howard commented that there will be a zero tolerance approach to non-compliance with TB legislation in the county. He said: “The rules are there to protect both our livestock and agriculture industry and this case demonstrates the important role that the trading standards service performs in protecting consumers, legitimate business and the economy.”

Farmer, Aled Morgan, aged 28, previously of Brynhyfryd, Penffordd, Clynderwen, but now residing at Llan Isaf, Llangynog, Carmarthen, was disqualified from keeping or owning livestock for seven years at Haverfordwest Magistrates’ Court on 17th February 2015. This was suspended for a month to allow for him to sell any remaining animals that are still in his possession.
On February 10, Morgan pleaded guilty to 21 offences relating to the care of his animals in court on January 19 and the case was adjourned to allow for a pre-sentence report to be prepared.
Nine of the offences relate to Morgan failing to comply with animal by-products and another nine relate to him failing to ensure the welfare of his animals.
The others related to him failing to notify the National Assembly of deaths of animals, one of failing to provide an animal for TB testing and one of failing to record the arrival of animals to the farm.
The chairman of the bench said that she and her colleagues were so appalled by the photographs provided and that they had never seen such appalling conditions.
The case followed complaints about animal welfare of cattle and pigs at his Penffordd livestock farm.
Probation officer Julie Norman told the court: “Problems arose following the death of his father. The farm has been in his family for generations. After his father died there were numerous debts that needed to be paid. He was struggling to pay and took up another job on another farm to pay costs. He left his sister in charge of his farm. The needs of the animals were quite basic and whilst his sister told him everything was ok he accepts that it wasn’t. He was so busy on the other farm and he no longer works at this farm. He has moved away and is working on a large dairy farm in Carmarthenshire.”
As well as the disqualification, Morgan was given a community order with the requirement of 300 hours of unpaid work.
Morgan was also fined £2446.76 to cover legal and investigation costs and he was also ordered to pay a £60 victim surcharge.
Info from: http://pembrokeshire-herald.com/14144/%E2%80%8Bfarmer-banned-from-keeping-animals/
In May 2013 the Disciplinary Committee of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons struck off the Register a veterinary surgeon for charges relating to tuberculin (TB) testing on cattle that he undertook and certified at four farms during June and July of 2010.
At the end of the ten-day hearing, the Disciplinary Committee found Sorin Dinu Chelemen guilty of 32 charges relating to his work as an Official Veterinarian (OV) for Animal Health while employed as a locum at Endell Veterinary Group, Salisbury.
“The Committee is of the view that this is a most serious case, in which the integrity of TB testing was undermined, and animal health was put at risk, which may have resulted in the spread of disease,” said Mrs Judith Webb, chairing and speaking on behalf of the Committee.
Info from: www.rcvs.org.uk/news-and-events/news/disciplinary-committee-strikes-off-wiltshire-vet/
Another area infected because of cattle movements - not badgers ... AN outbreak of tuberculosis (TB) in cattle was last night confirmed in County Durham ... Neighbouring farmers last night spoke of their anger that infected cattle had been brought to a region which has previously been regarded as free of the disease in both livestock and wildlife. ... “It is believed that the infection was inadvertently carried in cattle bought from a high risk area of the country, where cases of bovine TB are much more prevalent. TB testing of neighbouring holdings within a three kilometre radius is underway...
Bovine TB outbreak confirmed in County Durham (From The Northern Echo)
Info from: http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/10797783.Bovine_TB_outbreak_confirmed_in_County_Durham/
Scotland is TB free - achieved by strict pre-movement regulations: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/farmingrural/Agriculture/animal-welfare/Diseases/disease/tuberculosis/guidance/control

October 2013 Ipswich Crown Court ordered a Suffolk farmer, Eric Moss, of Botany Farm, Farnham, near Saxmundham, to pay a total of £116,000 after unlawfully slaughtering cattle and illegally selling meat across the county. At the end of a long-running case, the court ordered Moss to repay £83,000 as proceeds of crime. He was also fined £15,000 after 
previously admitting not registering or recording his cattle movements, births, or deaths between July 2007 and May 2009. Moss was also told to pay a total of £18,000 in costs.
He was also due in court November 2013 to face 39 charges relating to the welfare of his animals and failing to comply with farming regulations. The welfare allegations involving refer to around 100 cattle. Moss’ company ARP Farms Ltd, in Sible Hedingham, near Halstead, is also accused of 30 offences of a similar nature. The total period spanned by the charges dates from February 19 to July 13.
Moss is a nationally recognised expert on Red Poll cattle. He is also a former member of the National Farmers’ Union livestock board.
In 2013 Q1 6% of cattle movements in England were non compliant with pre-movement testing rules Why?
A Tewkesbury farmer has been fined after selling milk from cattle with bTB. The cattle which had tested positive for TB but the farmer, Timothy Juckes, refused to believe the cows had the disease. He sent four cows without the disease to the slaughterhouse instead of the infected animals, Gloucester Crown Court heard on 28th June 2013. He then took compensation from Defra for the livestock, which should have been destroyed.
The court heard Juckes was not motivated by greed to commit the crime, but by his previous experiences of losing cattle because of the TB regulations of Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs).
Between 2004 and 2009 six of his cattle tested positive for TB but he was ordered to slaughter a total of 60 because it was possible they could have the disease.
The court heard that the milk from the infected cows would not have posed a health risk to the public.
Judge William Hart said Juckes, of Tredington House, Tredington, near Tewkesbury, had ignored the principles of "proper and honest" dealings."He believes these cows probably did not have TB and thought he would be destroying healthy animals he had reared," he said. However, he told Juckes he should not have ignored the order from Defra. The judge said: "It is not for you, or any farmer, to second guess the department. In our society we have to trust matters of this sort to the authorities, whether or not you agree with them. You are obliged to comply with the law. You are fundamentally a decent and honest farmer and you have fallen from grace with the commission of these offences."
Juckes was ordered to pay back £5,398 in compensation to the government department.
He was also told to pay back the £12,592 he made from continuing to milk the infected heifers and sell their produce.
The 36-year-old was also fined £14,000 and ordered to pay £20,000 in costs after he was prosecuted by Gloucestershire's Trading Standards department for 10 counts of fraud in connection with selling the milk.
Judge Hart said it was an expensive lesson for the farmer whose reputation had also suffered as a result of his actions. The court heard no public or animal health offences were committed.
Three cows were found to have the disease in October 15, 2010, and another the following month.
Info from:
www.thisisgloucestershire.co.uk/Tewkesbury-farmer-sold-milk-cattle-TB/story-19428302-detail/story. html#axzz2XmVKMnlv www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/10151399/Bovine-TB-in-milk-as-well-as-beef.html
Mother and daughter Kathleen Wallis, 61, and Sarah Wallis, 23, of Appleton Farm, at Wick St Lawrence, near Weston-super-Mare, admitted 18 counts of providing false information as to the location of a number of their cattle when they appeared before Bristol Crown Court. The farmers admitted to failing to adhere to cattle disease control laws and were branded "ignorant, rotten and cruel" by a judge. North Somerset Council trading standards officers and the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratory Agency discovered the cattle had been moved to Wick St Lawrence in 2011 without being subject to mandatory pre-movement tuberculosis testing, in an attempt to dodge laws designed to prevent outbreaks from spreading. Judge Julian Lambert gave Kathleen Wallis a seven-month suspended jail sentence and two-year community order. He told her she was "stubborn, ignorant, rotten and cruel" and would face immediate jail if she offended again. She has to pay costs of £16,960. Sarah Wallis was given a two-year community order and told to do 210 hours of unpaid work. The court heard that both farmers had previous animal movement or welfare-related convictions.
FRAUDULENT farmer Timothy Juckes, 36, kept on selling milk from cattle which had tested positive for TB and should have been destroyed, a court heard. The farmer, from Gloucestershire, one of the alleged bTB hot spot counties and venue for one of the infamous pilot cull trials, was prosecuted by the Gloucestershire Trading Standards department. Juckes, of Tredington House, Tredington, near Tewkesbury, admitted 10 charges of fraud against Defra.
Four of his animals reacted to TB tests carried out by a Government vet and had been condemned to slaughter, Gloucester Crown Court was told.
But instead of having them put down, Juckes sent the livestock to the slaughterhouse instead,. He was then paid compensation - a total of £4,173, plus £1225 for the later animal - by Defra for the livestock which should have been destroyed but he also earned money by selling milk from condemned animals.
Because there is to be a Proceeds of Crime investigation into his finances to determine what assets he has and what his criminal benefit was Judge William Hart decided to adjourn sentence.
He said he had a 'substantial' financial penalty and costs in mind once the Proceeds of Crime position had been finalised.
Mr Liddiard told the court that on October 15, 2010, a veterinary inspector went to Mr Juckes' farm and found that three cattle were positive reactors to TB. Another test was carried out the following month and there was a single reactor animal and he was told that, too, had to be slaughtered.
The court was told that; 'The prosecution amounts to this: in reality he did not send any of the four reactor animals to slaughter. He did send four animals, but not those four.'
The fraud offences could be summarised as deliberate swapping of identities of TB reactor cattle with healthy livestock; retaining the reactor animal and producing milk from it; and in one case having a calf born to a reactor cow, said Mr Liddiard.
He had sold milk from one of the animals for a year, earning £3,500 for it.
"He went about ensuring that he could continue to use these animals. It was a fairly deliberate and fairly persistent process on his part," he said.
Judge William Hart told Adam Vaitilingham, defending, that he was not considering a prison sentence or an unpaid work order and a financial penalty was appropriate.
He bailed Juckes to a date to be fixed after April 1, adding: "I will not be sending you to prison."
Info from www.thisisgloucestershire.co.uk/Fraudulent-farmer-Timothy-Juckes-continued-sell/story-17573639-detail/story.html
A FARMER from North Wales has been jailed for 46 weeks – for flouting TB regulations - and he apparently had a history of flouting the regulations. Mark Edward Payne, 45, of The Old Smithy at Brynford near Holywell, was jailed for 16 weeks for the offences, followed by 24 weeks from an earlier suspended sentence for similar offences. He admitted animal health offences – moving animals illegally from one holding to another without pre-movement testing for bovine tuberculosis. Payne was also given an additional two months for failing to turn up in court for sentence on an earlier occasion.
Judge Merfyn Hughes QC, sitting at Mold Crown Court, said Payne had chosen to ignore the instructions of trading standards officials. It was clear, he said, that the defendant had a history of flouting the regulations.
The court heard how Payne moved 40 cattle, owned by his wife Linda, illegally from Waen y Brodlas at Brynford to another holding at Caerwys Hall. Officers from Flintshire animal health team had established that he had moved the cattle in September 2011 and then moved them back without the required testing.
He claimed that the tests had been done within the last 60 days and that he had complied with the regulations. But investigations showed that was not the case, the judge was told.
The court heard that in 2010 he had breached a TB restriction notice and failed to dispose of bovine carcasses – when he received a 36-week suspended prison sentence.
Officials warned that a tough stance would be taken against those who deliberately put animal health and the Welsh herd at risk to the spread of infection. They would be investigated and taken to court.
Information from Daily Post 3/11/12 http://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/2012/11/03/north-wales-farmer-jailed-for-illegal-cattle-movement-55578-32158751...

We have just been reminded that the TB bacterium can remain active (and presumably infectious) in water for 58 days (http://www.hindawi.com/journals/vmi/2011/765430/). Could this be another potential vector for spreading TB to neighbouring farms and beyond? We know there is little interest in the risk of spreading TBi infected slurry on the land. Are these greater 'risks' than wildlife?
Cattle movement licence delays cause chaos! According to Farmers Weekly cattle producers are having to shoot calves, withhold beef from abattoirs and risk spreading bovine tuberculosis due to failures in a government computer system. Following a change to the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency's system chaos has ensued.

Auctions provide lifeline for restricted herds says
Farmers Weekly http://www.fwi.co.uk/Articles/07/10/2011/129459/Auctions-provide-lifeline-for-restricted-herds.htm
Livestock auction markets are throwing an invaluable lifeline to beef and dairy herds struggling with high stocking rates, and sometimes poor cashflow, due to bovine TB restrictions. Autumn 2010 saw the first licensed TB-restricted ...
Some good suggestions extracted from a farmer's posting on www.fwi.co.uk/community/forums/p/60717/190356.aspx#190356
I've always run my own farm on the basis that, while I may have chosen to farm livestock and manage my land in a particular way, I would consider it a complete failure on my part if I could only make my business succeed by killing all the wild animals that interfered with my plans. We are meant to be the most intelligent of all the species and it is a sad reflection on farmers in general if our first reaction in the 21st century is still to blast away rather than make every effort possible to prevent problems in the first place.
The most common route of infection with M. bovis in is by ingestion. Badgers, in common with many other animals, scent mark their territories with urine. So, putting two and two together, the least we should all be doing is making sure that our feed stores cannot be contaminated by other creatures including badgers and cats. If you feed salt and minerals outdoors then these should be in a high-sided container because there's nothing more attractive, even to your own dog, than a heap of something to wee up against. If you feed silage on the ground and it's not all cleared up in one session then you should be feeding in troughs instead. If the silage is taken from a pit, the pit should be covered up in between feeds. Feeding cattle at the silage pit behind electric fencing is clearly dodgy because the silage is left exposed and can be easily contaminated. Pouring waste milk into the slurry tank and then spreading that slurry onto your grass must be bad practice. I could go on but safe to say that, on my numerous journies round the south west picking up dairy calves, there seem to be a number of basic, common sense practices which I can only assume must have dissolved over time. Unless we can show that we have done all we can in terms of safeguarding our stock against infection in the first place then we should be ashamed of ourselves for reaching the gun for a quick fix instead.
Email comment dated 25/9/11 from Dr GE:
I guess Id be more worried about mixing stock than people dipping their feet etc. In fact you could say that the main risk is just buying stock from a market, and it would be much better to develop some sort of classification system to help farmers make informed choices - to nudge them as they say - in a similar way to the system that works in New Zealand. Most of the vets I know would jump for joy at that prospect.
Why farmers dont bother with biosecurity is an interesting topic: a lot of my work has been around that. But really its no different to the way all of us make decisions about risk, why some people dont wash their hands after going to the toilet, but do when they have a bout of food poisoning. With disinfectant their is a big hangover from FMD and how it was used at the time: there is some interesting social research on how that became some sort of symbolic practice, but also symbolic of wider government failings. Biosecurity literally became a dirty word, and its use during FMD as a way of blaming farmers (sometimes rightly) has meant that is very difficult to get farmers to buy in to it. Its much better to use a different word.
In terms of effectiveness, it is of course very difficult to scientifically trace disinfectant use/nonuse to disease spread - you can make common sense judgements, and for highly infectious disease it is easier. For something like TB though it is impossible. Vets would rate this as the lowest priority for TB preventive measures (in the Welsh Government's biosecurity scoring tool, it is ranked lowest).
Im not surprised that AHVLA at Carmarthen were annoyed by what happened at Whitland. AHVLA staff are also under a lot of pressure at the moment with cutbacks, staff turnover. A lot of this stuff will just be lived with - but it would be interesting to see what they did about Whitland etc. Of course, if farmers funded TB control themselves (Tb testing etc) then none of this would matter: they can decide what risks they want to live with, and how to manage cattle movements. As long as it didnt cost the taxpayer anything, then its not really a problem. Thats one argument anyway.
http://www.viva.org.uk/campaigns/badgers/biosecurity.html Regarding the VIVA investigations into biosecurity it is understood that the AHVLA believe that the markets are operating within The Animal Gatherings Order (Wales) 2010. Viva says 'This isn’t a great surprise given that the previous rules about biosecurity have been relaxed in this Order – and the AHVLA can only judge given the criteria that they are given. However, I believe that some potential breaches (such as members of the public using animal runs to access parts of the market) are being smoothed over by semantics and what we believe are potentially incorrect interpretations of the law. Given the lack of take up in observing biosecurity by visitors to markets, it seems clear that good practice is not enough. I guess the bottom line is that we believe that visitor biosecurity at markets is a potentially major factor in the spread of TB and that it is one that is being all but ignored. Measures are being relaxed to remove red tape for farmers, but it is difficult to understand why taking two seconds to observe good biosecurity by dipping feet would be so onerous. Even more so given that this practice could protect their very livelihoods.'.
Email from RH 13/9/11
In the local news tonight they had a report from Holsworthy market, Holsworthy now has more red markets going then normal ones ... and the cattle are making pretty much the same prices as cattle in clean farm sales.
Information from /www.thecattlesite.com/news/35440/licences-ease-trading-for-tb-restricted-cattle
As of August 1 2011 livestock keepers in England and Wales can apply for a license that allows the general movement of cattle from restricted premises through a slaughter gathering, or ‘red market’, before onward movement direct to slaughter.
Under previous rules keepers wishing to sell bovine tuberculosis (TB) restricted cattle via a red market had to apply to their local Animal Health Veterinary Laboratory Agency (AHVLA) office for a licence at least five days before each proposed movement, detailing the ear tag numbers of the specific animals being moved.
The new licence offers greater flexibility to keepers - authorising movements of clear tested cattle within a restricted herd for a period up to 90 days after the last complete TB herd test. Owners are responsible for adding relevant ear tag numbers to a copy of the licence at the point of sale, with the advantage that they will be able to pick out cattle at the time of loading rather than having to record identification numbers in advance.
Defra, the Welsh Government, AHVLA, British Cattle Movement Society (BCMS) and the Livestock Auctioneers Association worked in partnership to develop this change in licence conditions.
Movements will be monitored and regularly audited to ensure compliance.
Email from LG 9/9/11
Re this 2004 report - PCR primers specific for the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex were used to detect the presence of Mycobacterium bovis BCG (Pasteur) in soil microcosms and Mycobacterium bovis in environmental samples taken from a farm in Ireland with a history of bovine tuberculosis. M. bovis genes were detected in soil at 4 and
21 months after possible contamination. Areas around badger setts had the highest levels of detectable genes and were shown to have the highest levels of gene persistence. M. bovis-specific 16S rRNA sequences were detected, providing evidence of the presence of viable cells in Irish soils. Studies of DNA turnover in soil microcosms proved that dead cells of M. bovis BCG did not persist beyond 10 days. Further microcosm
experiments revealed that M. bovis BCG survival was optimal at 37°C with moist soil.
This study provides clear evidence that M. bovis can persist in the farm environment outside of its hosts and that climatic factors influence survival rates. From the evidence presented it can be concluded that M. bovis BCG remains viable in soil for more than 15 months and that significant levels of M. bovis DNA and RNA persist in the field, indicating the presence of viable cells as an environmental reservoir for infection, which may pose a risk to cattle. As part of the experiment, environmental samples from the yard, including badger feces, soil, hay, scrapings from
feeding bowls, and water, were examined for the presence of
M. bovis. Despite the animals shedding large numbers of M.
bovis cells in urine and sputum, M. bovis was not isolated at any
Sent by email (13/9/11) from RH, from the blog of Rory Stewart Tory MP (http://rorystewart.co.uk/blog/321-tb).
There are a number of ways in which this could happen. First, the pre-movement test for cows from an infected area is only 70 per cent. accurate. Second, dealers can leave the cows for a short-time in anon-infected parish and then sell them in the auction mart, as though they had always been in a clean area. And it is still possible, it seems, for a farmer to link a Cumbrian field to a field in Gloucestershire, as a single holding, and thus get round the necessity forpre-movement testing at all.
We need to stop all of this. We must prevent linking of holdings more than 30 miles apart, and improve TB tests pre-movement. Blood-testing seems to be more reliable than skin tests.Auction marts know from the cow’s passport where it has been all its life, but they generally only reveal the last movement. We should call on Cumbrian marts to reveal whether the cow has been in an infected area, not in the last six days, but in the last six months.

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