Farmers with herds under Tb restriction will notice several changes to Defra's procedure this autumn.
We've mentioned the new 'valuation' form - BT 1 (Rev. 7/04) which requires a signature from the owner of cattle to be Compulsorily Purchased BEFORE valuation. When the valuer (whom he cannot now nominate) has pronounced sentence, having signed the form, the owner has no right of appeal.
Even this cursory type of valuation we suspect will be 'culled' after Christmas as Defra's new Banding system comes into force, after the usual cursory 'Consultation' excercise. SVS field staff say that they do not expect to implement the new system on farm - which leaves a YTS on minimum wage to tick the appropriate boxes.
This is what he / she will have to work with:
(Only a proposal at present - comments by Christmas Eve)
Male or Female. (That shouldn't give too much trouble - or will it??)
Beef or Dairy. (Could be tricky on dual purpose breeds)
Pedigree or Non Pedigree.
(We have been told that Breed Societies are not accepting new member's cattle for registration if those animals are already under Tb restriction. New herds can only be accepted and registered when clear. The new form BT 1 excludes grading up animals from 'pedigree' prices . They will be classed as 'non pedigree'. So Defra have cottoned on to animals for the 'chop' becoming ' pedigree' in an afternoon, using unclassified data)
Age. Under 2 months.
2 - 10 months or 2 - 12 months.
10 - 18 months or 12 - 24 months.
over 18 months or over 24 months.
Pregnant or non pregnant aged 18 months / 24 months or over.
Calved, with or without calf at foot.
This age banding appears too wide to be accurate.
In further cost cutting measures, Defra are relying totally on BCMS (British Cattle Movement Service) identities and not attaching their own uniquely numbered 'Reactor Tags' to animals once identified, inspected and valued. (We reserve comment on this one.)
The Cleansing and Disinfecting notice normally handed out at the same time as notice of intended slaughter, is now 'discretionary', depending on Post mortem findings. Only if open lesions which SVS consider capable of onward transmission are found, will a form be issued.
It has been wryly pointed out to the editors that given the amount of m.bovis bacteria being plastered across cattle grazing areas, feeding troughs and buildings by infected badgers, should farmers take the C&D notice literally, they would fall foul of the Environment Agency for polluting the whole area with highly toxic chemicals!
A most extraordinary response to a highly infectious zoonosis.
Kill as many cattle as you like Mrs. Beckett, but that bacteria is still there - and it's coming to a farm near you.