Friday, August 03, 2007

Lord Rooker - again

We have been reminded that in our posting below, which highlighted farmer's response to the devastation of flooded areas of Gloucestershire and the surrounding areas, and their comparison with the ongoing scourge of bTb, of Lord Rooker's most extraordinary comment.

"We have to close down every possible route. I cannot for the life of me understand why some farmers in non-hotspot areas are buying cattle from hotspot areas without getting them tested,” he said.



Now far be it for us to remind Hizonner, Lord Rooker, but testing - as in pre movement testing - has been in use in annual and two year testing parishes, or as he would describe them 'hotspot areas', for the last sixteen months. And thanks to a comment on the posting below, the appalling extent of this can be seen on Defra's map of GB. The reason why these tests do not show up on Defra's direct Tb budget, is that farmers pay for them. They were part of a package agreed with the industry two years ago. PreMT was introduced along with tabular valuation, but the third part of the package Defra reneged on. We agree that post movement testing is by far a better disease protection, but preMT is what Defra wanted, so that is what Defra got. So it really is adding insult to injury that having delivered on its obligations, the industry's leaders seem totally unaware of farmers' commitment to stopping cattle moving with bTb, at their own expense, and with absolutely nothing offered in return.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

"the industry's leaders seem totally unaware of farmers' commitment to stopping cattle moving with bTb, at their own expense, and with absolutely nothing offered in return."


Shirley the return is a reduction in disease?

Matthew said...

Anon 4.59
PreMt is a comfort blanket with little effect, but it was offered as part of a package. A post movement test at 120 days would be more sensible for disease control. That Lord Rooker seems unaware of it at all, is what is worrying.

"Shirley the return is a reduction in disease?"

Not working then, is it?
Who's Shirley?

Anonymous said...

"A post movement test at 120 days would be more sensible for disease control."

So what you do is to buy in some (potentially)diseased stock and give them 4 months to (potentially) infect your other livestock. Then test them?

Reminds me of shutting stable doors . . . . .

Anonymous said...

'Surely' - don't call me Shirley

Matthew said...

Anon 9.43.
It depends on whether you are serious about disease control or prefer offering platitudes and comfort blankets. PreMT is a dangerous concept. Not because the skin test is rubbish. It isn't, but it is not designed for individual animals. It is a herd test.
It also has a latency after exposure, depending on the exposure dose, of 30 - 50 days. Add that to the 60 day period allowed for selling tested animals, and 3 months undetected exposure are possible, hence its danger.

One of our contributers has bought two batches of pedigree cattle, both preMT, and both now subject to more tests because of breakdowns in the consigning herd. This illustrates our point I think.

Post movement testing is better, and it is not 'shutting the stable door' either. In herds subject to regular testing (annual or two year) it probably would not be necessary, as with fattening units only selling into abattoirs.

But the importers of breeding cattle into areas on a 3/4 or 5 year testing regime would be wise to isolate any such purchased cattle and post movement test at 120 days, to obviate that test latency, and rely on the stress of the move to flag up anything lurking. Elaine King proposed grant aided facilities for just this at one time. A point with which we agree. (The facilities if not the grant)

Anon 9.44
Like that!

Anonymous said...

"Not because the skin test is rubbish. It isn't, but it is not designed for individual animals. It is a herd test."

Yes, that's why some countries slaughter the whole herd if a reactor is found.

Not here though.

The undetected infected beasts are allowed to continue spreading 'the word' - that's bovine TB.

Matthew said...

Anon 5.46
None compulsorily that we know of. It is an option in the US, to get the herd clear more quickly than skin tests. What's the point if a wildlife reservoir reinfects replacements?

You say:
"The undetected infected beasts are allowed to continue spreading 'the word' - that's bovine TB."

Absolutely right. Badgers do just that, but are not 'undetected' - even Bourne found up to 55 percent of the ones he manged to catch had lesions. And it was almost 80 percent of those caught in the in the Broadway area of Worcs up to 1997. But hey, they aren't infectious, right?

No comments on the thread core then? Roger Blowey's outline of GB Tb policy over the years either? There's not a lot to say really is there.

George said...

There is, in fact, no evidence that there are a significant number of undetected infected beasts spreading bovine TB. Cattle that are infected and are bad enough to be spreading the disease would be spotted at routine meat inspection. They are just not there. A few cattle are found with TB at the abattoir, but the lesions found are usually closed lymph node lesions and are not, therefore, infective.