NEW Bovine TB testing rules will have immediate implications for West Lancashire’s farmers.
The NFU hope to address mounting concerns and confusion about the new rules.
From January 1, a number of new TB rules will come into force which will have a direct impact on farmers in Lancashire and Cumbria.
A risk-based system which divided areas off into parishes to determine how often your herd was assessed for TB, has been scrapped.
Instead, there will be a county system with increased surveillance around confirmed TB breakdowns in counties which are relatively TB free and only require assessments every four years. Lancashire and Cumbria both fall into this category.
NFU North West’s TB expert, Adam Briggs, said: “In practice, this means that herds within a 3km radius of a confirmed TB case will require an immediate skin test and may then need follow-up tests six months later and, if results are negative, 12 months thereafter.
“During this time, these herds will require pre-movement testing.
“There is concern that some farmers in Cumbria and Lancashire are not fully aware of what is coming in or the implications for them and their neighbours if TB is confirmed on their farm.”
TB rates in Lancashire and Cumbria have lagged behind those of Cheshire.
Defra has had to unite the three disparate counties but from January the new rules will mean that farmers in low incidence areas will now face tougher restrictions.
Before these new government rules were announced, the Animal Health and Welfare Board launched a separate consultation asking those involved in the fight against Bovine TB for ideas on strengthening prevention work and reducing the impact on farm businesses.
The Government is set to go ahead with a badger cull this year, despite an 11th-hour postponement earlier last year.
Defra has agreed to postpone the pilot culls until summer, 2013, to allow farmers to continue their preparations and have the best possible chance of carrying out the cull effectively.
Environment secretary Owen Paterson said: “The Government is determined to tackle bovine TB by all the means available to us. Now, in the next few months, we will ensure that the pilot culls can be implemented effectively, in the best possible conditions, with the right resources. Having looked at all the evidence over many years, I am utterly convinced that badger control is the right thing to do, and indeed the higher-than-expected badger numbers only serve to underline the need for urgent action.
“I remain fully committed to working with the farming industry to ensure that the pilot culls can be delivered effectively, safely and humanely next summer.”