Home Page
The Bovine TB Open Forum  Latest
[  1, 2, 3 ]
[  1, 2 ]
[  1, 2, 3 ]
[  1, 2, 3 ]
[  1, 2 ]

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.

becky
We also know the 6 day movement loop hole works the other way so you can buy cattle in Devon, keep them in say Yorkshire for 6 days and then sell them in Cumbria meaning they still have their Devon ear tags in but because they were sold on from Yorkshire then they come in under the 4 year testing (is Yorkshire on 4 yearly test?), rather then the Devon (which is 1yr or 6mths testing (depending where you are in the county).
 
becky
Email from BH 12/9/11
 
Heard a story that made my blood boil today.
 
We had our shearer in cleaning up the tails on our ewes ready for tupping. His brother bought a bull from up country, phoned DEFRA for movement conditions. Our shearer's brother is under some restrictions at the moment as he has had reactors. Anyway he was told that due to this he can't buy any cattle from outside Devon and Cornwall.
 
So he told the DEFRA chap he'd already bought it, so what did the DEFRA chap say? Well to to paraphrase it; ' Well I didn't tell you this but if you have a friend who is currently going clear down there? If so you can drop the bull off with them for 6 days. After that move it onto your farm'!
 
This is apparently not breaking the law and a way round it - a loophole that can be exploited by any farmer!
 
Our shearer and his brother were amazed. Yes it's not breaking the law BUT to actually have someone at DEFRA tell you the loop hole!
 
As our shearer said 'either TB is that serious and we should be doing everything to stop it or it's not' .. DEFRA please decide which one it is!
 
justin
Please pass on my thanks to the person who wrote the above response.
 
As far as the water trough goes, the tipping water trough was just a suggestion – but I agree that water wastage could be problem and rollers might be a better solution. The fact remains that stagnant – and potentially infected – water is a big problem not being addressed. A way to prevent a vector for transmission between species has to be good.
 
As for stocking density vs. over grazing I appreciate the input and the clarification. It is still a grey area, though. If over grazing is the thing that forces cattle to graze near or on badger latrines could that not be down to increased herd sizes and limited land? I guess the important thing to remember is that nothing is completely black and white with this issue. The increased herd size has also been linked to stress in cattle – and that, of course, can cause a susceptibility to disease (as can increased milk yields etc)
 
becky
Email from BH 5/9/11
Yes it would be cheaper I would also be fascinated to know if any studies on % of decline of disease were done by FERA and if it's above 16% then surely they are onto a winner!
 
Two points - to pick up from with Justin with my farmer’s hat on.
 
Tipping water troughs I know a couple of farmers who tried them and the cattle actually kept knocking them by using them as rubbing posts causing them to tip.
 
Most farm water troughs or at least around here are spring fed, so to have one the cattle keep knocking in the summer when springs are running low is a huge waste of precious water.
 
But have you seen those troughs with rollers on the edges of them... work on the premise that a badger can't get a foothold (bit the same as those squirrel-proof bird feeders) those to me make a lot more sense so the badger never gets near the water.
 
The other one just to watch… with out getting too technical is getting ‘stocking density’ mixed up with ‘over grazing’, yes stocking density has shot up in the UK but the density of the cattle is only a real problem in barns and shreds where the farmers has increased his herd size and not increased his housing size ventilation etc etc at the same rate.
 
It's an easy mistake many make to get stocking density mixed up with over grazing.
 
I'll try and explain this as simply as possible.
 
The vast herds of Buffalo and Wildebeest grazing tightly together on the African plains would you say they are over stocked?
Answer= No
Why?
Answer= Because they are constantly moving.
In the same respect we could have 4000 cattle grazing on our small farm.. BUT only for 10 mins and then they would have eaten all the grass and have to move on.
 
If we kept them there for a day then that would be over grazed.
 
However you can also over graze a field with only 5 cattle in it - if you leave those cattle in there for a month they will eat all the obtainable grass and because of their constant presence the grass never has chance to recover - so it's over grazed and they will eat the grass around a badger latrine.. and that is very low stocking density.
 
And just to confuse matters when a farm is ‘over stocked’ it means the farmer is having to buy large amount of extra fed to keep his livestock feed because the livestock have out run the carry capacity of that farmland. (ie land is not making enough food to feed all the animals)
 
It's one to watch because the farmers will have you on stocking density, you can have high stocking density in mob grazing with is one of the most sustainable eco ways to farm livestock.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oomW5xzdYvE
 
The key being the cattle hit the pasture hard and fast and are quickly moved on to fresh pasture – with a long recovery time given the grazed pasture – (it mimics what happens in the wild with the wildebeest )
 
So the take home message is heavy stocking density is a problem indoors, over grazing is down to timing in a field and not allowing grass a long enough recovery.= bad management.
 
justin
Are you aware of the new on-farm biosecurity advice for farmers? It’s a joint initiative by a number of bodies including DEFRA and the Welsh Assembly Gov. There are videos and a transcript available here: http://www.defra.gov.uk/animal-diseases/a-z/bovine-tb/#biosecurity-video
 
There are some fascinating titbits of information. Some of which I didn’t know and some of which are useful to repeat.
 
Bottom line is that this backs up Lord Krebs’ suggestion that simple measures such as improved cattle testing and keeping badgers and cattle apart would cost less than a 'cull' and are "as likely to work". The difference, of course, is that the measures suggested in the guidance are not mandatory – but (in certain areas) the killing of badgers will be.
 
A few things that stood out:
 
The number of cattle breakdowns ‘caused’ by badgers remains unknown.
 
“However, a long term study found even within social groups where infection is present, TB is not detected in all individuals. … Furthermore, infection is not detected in all social groups even in a TB hotspot area. The stable, territorial, social structure limits the amount of contact between badgers of different social groups which reduces the opportunities for infectious badgers of one group to spread the disease to susceptible badgers in another group.” … This begs the question of quite how badgers are meant to be spreading the disease to new areas?
 
The document says that “Inhalation is the primary route of transmission between cattle although consumption of contaminated material may also be important.” It also acknowledges that cattle can and do infect badgers and that nose to nose contact is rare between badgers and cattle as “badgers generally avoid cattle where possible.”
 
It also suggests that "Infection may be transmitted through coughing, sneezing, licking or biting or through contact with infected excretions such as faeces, urine, sputum and pus." And that: “"While contact with faeces, urine and other excretions from infectious badgers are a real risk of disease transmission the M. bovis bacteria may only remain infectious on pasture for a few days to a few weeks depending on the weather." … Again, this begs the question of why our concerns about the lack of foot dipping at markets were not treated seriously if the infection can remain active for up to days or weeks (most certainly time to take it to and from farm)?
 
The guidance tells farmers not to destroy badger setts themselves because badgers will “… just move their activity elsewhere in your field.” As we know, illegal sett destruction has done this – but the extent of it is anyone’s guess. In other words, are farmers the main cause in the spread of TB in wildlife apart from through their cattle?
 
Interestingly, without spelling it out as such the guidance suggests that the intensification of cattle farming is partly to blame. It says, “Grazing cattle will generally avoid badger faeces if they can …”, but says they might not be able to if stocking density is high. As we know, the average stocking density of dairy cows in the UK has more than doubled since the 1970s.
 
It states that water troughs are a potential disease point (presumably for both badgers and cattle). One farmer recently suggested in a letter to the Financial Times that this could be major route as water troughs are often infrequently cleaned. A potential solution would be tipping troughs that would empty if badgers got into them – and cleaning them regularly or using self-flushing troughs.
 
I was surprised by research by FERA (Food and Environment Research Agency) that showed how many times that badgers entered farm buildings. Earlier in the document it says that badgers will return time and time again to identified food sources. It makes sense that badgers will raid feed stores if they can – leading to multiple incidences where cross contamination may occur. However, the solutions suggested here are cheap and quick: and in one instance all that was required was to simply sheet off the bottom of the door! All the farmers in the research project appeared to be happy that measures such as these kept badgers and cattle apart.
 
Now here’s the rub. Surely it would be much cheaper (for farmers and the governments) to implement economical and quick biosecurity measures and make them mandatory, too? The question is, why is this not happening?
 
becky
Email from RH 31/8/11
 
Did you see this...
http://www.defra.gov.uk/news/2011/08/30/video-reduce-tb-risks/
 
becky
A letter from a a Steve Jones, a Glos cattleman published recently in Financial Times (www.ft.com/cms/s/0/09f8cac2-c749-11e0-a9ef-00144feabdc0.html) is all about good husbandry promoting hygiene and stifling disease
 
As a cattleman, he has apparently managed some of the world’s most productive and disease-free dairy herds in locations as various as Saudi Arabia, Norway and south-west England. He says that although farms exist against a background of foxes, badgers, rabbits, deer and smaller rodents, all potential carriers of harm, he believes too few British farms manage to prevent the infection of their stock. He stresses the distinguishing factors for success are husbandry to promote health and hygiene to stifle disease.
 
He tells us that stagnant water readily harbours malignancy. He says; 'Cattle in the UK rely on troughs that are rarely cleaned, even at the start of the spring season. The beasts quaff a cocktail that might include dead birds, rats and badger spittle. We are then surprised that they contract tuberculosis and blame the badgers. It would not be hard to prevent the badgers from reaching the water in the troughs'.
 
Rather than an expensive and unguaranteed cull of badgers, he suggests that a rigidly controlled experiment covering a dozen dairy farms in an area of high TB, in which hygiene and clean water management was strictly enforced and inspected, (with another dozen monitored as a control) would quickly establish whether the badgers or the farmers were to blame.
 
becky
Interesting letter sent in to us which was printed in Independent . From a retired calf breeder in Carmarthenshire he talks about a subject we are often asked about - the risks from slurry. He says that most farmers with TB herds spray slurry all over their fields 'allowing the TB bacilli to lie in the moist soil for up to four years'. He believes this is a far greater risk, not only to cattle but to a whole range of other animals and wildlife. He goes on to say that the greatest pollutants to our streams and rivers is fertiliser and slurry run-off. He also refers to the fact that dairy herds have a greater incidence of TB than beef herds. He believes that the greater stress levels for dairy cattle make them more susceptible to TB, mentioning that this has led to shortened lives for such cattle (average of five years 'when naturally 20 years would be the norm'.
 
Interestingly this farmer tells us he had suckler cows in a TB hot spot with badgers on his land, yet in the 20 years he worked the land he never had a case of TB in his herd.
 
becky
Apparently pressure is being put on the Welsh Assembly to ease the controversial six-day animal movement standstill rule.
 
According to the Farmers Guardian (www.farmersguardian.com/home/livestock/welsh-assembly-urged-to-relax-movement-restrictions/40225.article), Shadow Minister for Rural Affairs, Antoinette Sandbach, has asked First Minister Carwyn Jones to consider a relaxation of the legislation, something the farming unions have also been pressing hard for.
 
She agrees that Wales must have robust surveillance for disease, but movement restrictions must be proportionate to the risks to animal health.
 
“The current system is overly-bureaucratic and hamstrings day to day farming operations”, she says.
 
PRPL
The propensity to manipulate bTB test is as likely to be to increase the probability of movement restrictions and slaughter as to reduce both. In other words, many farmers, with the tacit encouragement of vets, actually welcome adverse skin tests. There are reports of a farmer committing suicide when his income support and steady flow of compensation was in danger of being withdrawn following a clean test.
 
An industry has sprung up where some farmers with less valuable herds can survive better if they have reactors and inconclusives than if they are passed clear. They benefit from the compensation model which allows them to sell cull and inferior cows at a median premium. It encourages them to buy-in and fatten cattle acquired at a discount from similarily restricted holdings and then selling them at non-restricted market prices. It has also encouraged eartag fraud and clandestine inter-holding movements.
 
The effect of the control measures is as unsettling as the cause.
 
The most disturbing aspect is the attitude of many vets and the vagaries of the testing regime. Recent cases where tests have not complied with field instructions are testament enough. Many vets eschew clipping and haphazardly apply the M.bovis and M.avium tuberculins. Some vets actively rubbish the need for quarantine, others, one learns, find one reactor then abandon testing as there is no need to continue-the 120 days closure is inevitable anyway! . One vet recently just observed the flanks of animals without bothering to caliper test any. A cynic might conclude that perhaps the oprofession are indifferent to and rather benefit from the control/testing regime.

 
becky
Biosecurity lapses have been filmed at three Welsh livestock markets in an area suffering from widespread TB infections in cattle.
 
Following the recent elections, Animal group Viva!
You can view Viva’s edited footage on You Tube here -
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=In-F4rnCQ74&feature=youtu.be
 
Despite the Welsh Government’s official guidelines urging good biosecurity at markets to stop disease spread (and highlighting that they are legally binding) the group says that disregard for the most basic biosecurity measures appeared to be endemic in Welsh markets and could be a major risk factor in spreading TB to cattle in the country.
 
Carmarthen Market (Wednesday 30 March 2011)
97 per cent of visitors are filmed ignoring simple biosecurity measures despite clearly marked signs asking them to dip their feet and wear appropriate footwear. This is a potential significant route to spread infection.
 
Whitland Market (Wednesday 30 March 2011)
No biosecurity measures are initially in place as the market begins, despite being designated as a Red/TB cattle market (where cattle under disease restrictions are sold for slaughter and risk of the spread of TB is high).An Animal Health official exclaims amazement on camera that she recently watched tested and non-tested cattle being widely mixed at a recent Carmarthen market. She says she was “seething”. This is a serious biosecurity infringement.
 
Cardigan Market (Monday 4 April 2011)
Despite being within the Intensive Action Area, not a single person was observed following simple biosecurity precautions such as dipping boots at this market. (5)A worker for a tag making company admits that tag swapping by sheep producers is widespread. This could be indicative of similar practices in cattle farming, which have recently come to light in England.
 
Viva!’s campaigns manager, Justin Kerswell, says: “Why do farmers appear to be so willing to pull the trigger on the country’s wildlife when they are clearly ignoring a problem much closer to home? Biosecurity appears to be treated with absolute contempt by most people who visit Welsh markets if our footage is anything to go by. It’s not rocket science, bad biosecurity at markets has the potential to be a major route of infection. People should be angry that badgers are being made a scapegoat judging by what we saw, is it any wonder that TB has spread like wildfire through parts of the country? We are calling on Carwyn Jones and Welsh Labour to dump plans to kill badgers in Wales, as we believe that this footage is damning and is likely indicative of general practice at Welsh markets. Why should Welsh wildlife die when even the simplest precautions against disease are so flagrantly flouted? We’ve said it before – and we’ll say it again – bad farming practices and previous bad political decisions are at the root of the TB epidemic, not badgers.”
 
Information from
www.badgerall.com/blog/welsh-markets’-biosecurity-scandal-exposed-by-viva
 
becky
Investigations by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and Trading Standards have revealed that some farmers are swapping ear tags from dairy cattle that have tested positive for bovine TB, with animals that are less productive. The less productive animals are then sent for slaughter and the farmer is compensated for the loss. The alleged evidence of fraud originally emerged from an investigation instigated by Gloucestershire trading standards officers who reviewed TB cattle sent to two slaughterhouses. A spokesman for Defra has said that three cases in England were already on their way to prosecution and investigations are continuing.
 
The most recent conviction is Powys farmer, Emyr Jones Evans, of Llanfihangel-yng-Ngwynfa, near Llanfyllin, who admitted six offences after the identities of cattle were swapped.
 
In June 2011 he was given a 12-months prison sentence at Mold Crown Court, suspended for 18 months, placed on supervision for a year and ordered to pay £28,900 costs.
 
Earlier this year (2011) an investigation by Gloucestershire Trading Standards exposed the switching of ear tags when reviewing TB cattle sent to two slaughterhouses. So far five counties in the Midlands and the South West of England and now Powys are said to be implicated in ear tagging frauds.
<br><br>
Tag switching has been condemned by the NFU, which said the actions of individual farmers was completely at odds with the industry’s determination to stamp out bovine TB.
<br><br>
Tag switching has been condemned by the NFU, which said the actions of individual farmers was completely at odds with the industry’s determination to stamp out bovine TB. “I am really struggling to understand why farmers would undertake the sorts of activities being highlighted,” said NFU president Peter Kendall.
THE NFU has applauded moves by Defra to DNA tag cattle which test positive for the disease. UK agriculture minister Jim Paice admitted there was evidence that suspected fraudulent behaviour was not restricted to one or two farm businesses. In response to the Badger Trust, he said: “Because of the worrying findings from Gloucestershire, additional slaughterhouse surveys have been initiated in Cornwall, Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Cheshire. “We are closely monitoring the findings from these. We will also be identifying high risk herds to target AHVLA inspections where there is evidence of suspicious ear tag ordering.”
 
 
becky
There is a paper on biosecurity and 'The ecological paradox: social and natural consequences of the geographies of animal health promotion' at
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1475-5661.2008.00321.x/abstract
 
The whole paper can be read and the abstract states 'Drawing on the example of bovine tuberculosis (bTb), this paper examines the geographies of animal health promotion. Using theories from the sociology of health, the paper outlines how the spatial practices of animal health promotion have had adverse policy consequences – what the paper refers to as an ‘ecological paradox’. Analysis of ethnographic interviews with 61 farmers in England and Wales provides a range of reasons why farmers do and do not implement biosecurity. Drawing on the concept of lay epidemiology and ideas of ‘the candidate’– that is, the terms by which someone/thing is most likely to suffer from a particular illness – the paper shows how farmers construct farmers, cattle and badgers as likely to be a candidate for bTb; and how aspects of luck and fatalism are significant elements of candidature. These effects are traced to a clash of spatial practice within the different knowledge articulated by official attempts to promote animal health and farmers’ understandings. In failing to consider these cultural understandings of disease, the paper argues that the state's attempts to promote animal health have served to reinforce the explanatory power of candidacy and traditional understandings of bTb, thereby overriding attempts to promote biosecurity. The resulting negative consequences for badgers, cattle and farmers are defined as the ecological paradox.'
 
kathy
http://lockerz.com/s/105134325 lorry leaking slurry photo. I've blown the photo up. It's not very clear, but there is a dark patch near the back wheels at the side and something looks like its dripping from underneath. Possibly not the best photo but shows the problem - slurry leaking goodness knows where as the lorry travels perhaps from one farm to another...
 
We have our own experience of this. There's a farmer that goes up and down a road near us every day (I avoid that road because of being stuck behind him) with a smelly container of slurry that leaks out. Also the local dairy farm near us which occupies both sides of the road, and the road is frequently covered in slurry. We know TB bacteria can live in slurry for many months, slurry is frequently moved and yet no-one seems bothered about this risk?
 
Sally
On 13 May 2011 a Flintshire farmer was prosecuted for failing to have cattle tested for Bovine TB. At Mold Magistrates' Court, the Flintshire County Council's Trading Standards department successfully prosecuted a farmer and dealer of livestock for failing to have cattle tested for tuberculosis before they were moved to his farm from other farms.
 
Graham Stabbins of Ddadau Farm, Ffordd Y Odyn, Treuddyn, Flintshire, the defendant, was convicted of one charge of moving a bovine, from a third party farm to his own farm, that had not been pre-movement tested for tuberculosis. Mold Magistrates also took another six similar offences into consideration.
 
Tim Dillon, prosecuting on behalf of Flintshire Trading Standards, said officers at Trading Standards visited several farmers who had sold cattle to Mr Stabbins and it was believed at the time that the cattle would be going direct to slaughter, which is permitted under the regulations. However, this was not the case, as the cattle were going direct to Mr Stabbins's farm and at no time had Mr Stabbins enquired about the cattle's tuberculosis status.
 
Stabbins was convicted and fined £1,000 plus costs of £1,807.
 
A spokesman for the Council's Public Protection Service said:"Stopping the spread of Bovine TB is a high priority in Flintshire and across the whole of Wales. Any breach of TB controls will not be tolerated, whether done by accident or by the thoughtless and reckless actions of a tiny minority of livestock owners. Legislation is in place that requires those who keep cattle to follow strict disease control rules to prevent the spread of disease. Breaches such as these put the Welsh herd, and cattle across the UK as a whole, at risk, along with the livelihoods of many of the farming community.
"The effects of this highly infectious respiratory disease in cattle include unnecessary suffering to infected animals, distress to the owner and an impact on their business, and significant cost to the public purse in dealing with the effects of the disease and payment of compensation to affected farmers. Flintshire County Council works in partnership with the agricultural industry, the Welsh Assembly Government and the Animal Health Veterinary Laboratories Agency, as well as other councils, to combat this disease and to help protect the majority of farmers who work with us, to ensure that all steps possible are taken to reduce the effects of this disease and to protect livestock and livelihoods. The Council's public protection team takes its responsibility in this area very seriously and will not tolerate those who break the law. It is important that we all work together to protect what is an important part of our community and economy within Flintshire, making sure that it is a safe and prosperous place for residents and business."
 
Information from http://www.welshcountry.co.uk/news-from-around-wales/706-agriculture/10030-flintshire-farmer-prosecuted-for-failing-to-have-catt...
 
 
 
Sally
Viva, (Vegetarians International Voice for Animals) secretly filmed at three Welsh markets and sent the footage footage to Assembly Ministers responsible for bTB policy. Viva is asking that the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) to stop the plans for a badger, accusing the Welsh Assembly and the farming industry of allowing TB in through the backdoor whilst wrongly blaming Welsh wildlife for the spread of the disease.
 
Despite the Welsh Government’s official guidelines urging good biosecurity at markets to stop disease spread (and highlighting that they are legally binding) Viva says that disregard for the most basic biosecurity measures appeared to be endemic in Welsh markets and could be a major risk factor in spreading TB to cattle in the country.
 
Carmarthen Market (filmed Wednesday 30 March 2011)
97% of visitors are filmed ignoring simple biosecurity measures despite clearly marked signs asking them to dip their feet and wear appropriate footwear.
 
Whitland Market (filmed Wednesday 30 March 2011)
No biosecurity measures are initially in place as the market begins, despite being designated as a Red/TB cattle market (where cattle under disease restrictions are sold for slaughter. An Animal Health official exclaims amazement on camera that she recently watched tested and non-tested cattle being widely mixed at a recent Carmarthen market. She says she was “seething”.
 
Cardigan Market (filmed Monday 4 April 2011)
Despite being within the Intensive Action Area, not a single person was observed following simple biosecurity precautions such as dipping boots at this market. A worker for a tag making company admits that tag swapping by sheep producers is widespread. This could be indicative of similar practices in cattle farming, which have recently come to light in England.
 
Viva!’s campaigns manager, Justin Kerswell, says: “Why do farmers appear to be so willing to pull the trigger on the country’s wildlife when they are clearly ignoring a problem much closer to home? Biosecurity appears to be treated with absolute contempt by most people who visit Welsh markets if our footage is anything to go by. It’s not rocket science, bad biosecurity at markets has the potential to be a major route of infection. People should be angry that badgers are being made a scapegoat judging by what we saw, is it any wonder that TB has spread like wildfire through parts of the country? We are calling on Carwyn Jones and Welsh Labour to dump plans to kill badgers in Wales, as we believe that this footage is damning and is likely indicative of general practice at Welsh markets. Why should Welsh wildlife die when even the simplest precautions against disease are so flagrantly flouted? We’ve said it before – and we’ll say it again – bad farming practices and previous bad political decisions are at the root of the TB epidemic, not badgers.”
 
According to the Daily Post (http://www.dailypost.co.uk/farming-north-wales/farming-news/2011/05/19/farm-bloggers-denounce-viva-biosecurity-stunt-55578-28721100/) farming message boards on the web have denounced the filming as a publicity stunt.
 
You can view Viva’s edited footage on You Tube here -
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=In-F4rnCQ74&feature=youtu.be
 

 First Previous 1 [ 2 of 2 ]  


-->
Free Forum by ViArt Ltd