The decision by Welsh Government to exempt cattle under 180 days of age from routine or targeted surveillance bovine TB testing in unrestricted herds has been welcomed by the Farmers’ Union of Wales as a pragmatic approach to the current pandemic.
Under the derogation, movement restrictions will not be placed on Officially TB Free (OTF) herds if cattle under 180 days are left untested because the vet has judged that testing cannot be conducted in line with current COVID-19 social distancing guidelines.
The FUW is pleased that the Welsh Government has listened to our concerns surrounding TB testing of youngstock during the pandemic. Many union members are in the covid-19 vulnerable category due to their age and it is important that the rules around TB testing do not risk the health of our key workers producing food during this pandemic.
It is extremely difficult to maintain social distancing rules when testing young calves for TB, therefore this derogation will come as a huge relief to those farmers facing the conflict of adhering to TB rules while also trying to adhere to social distancing rules and protect themselves and their family from illness.
The temporary exemption will be kept under regular review while the social distancing measures related to the COVID-19 outbreak are in force and applies retrospectively from the 23rd of March 2020 until further notice.