Wednesday, January 26, 2011

News update for camelid owners

A couple of points relative to our postings below, but more specifically for camelid owners, can be found here. (Click the 'NEWS' button on the top menu bar).

On the spread of TB from the colourful 'Maginot line' which they drew in 2009, for the 2010 map, Defra describe the spread thus:
There has been evidence that suggests there has been some further limited geographical spread and increased risk of TB in certain areas. As a result, for 2011 the core annual testing area has been expanded in some places, and the whole of the two year testing buffer has been widened, particularly in Cheshire and the East Midlands. In doing this the two year testing buffer and background four year testing areas have been brought in line with the requirements of EU legislation (Directive 64/432/EEC (as amended).
That statement - or understatement - on parish testing intervals (PTIs) is explained more fully:
The new PTIs came into effect on 1st January 2011 and are detailed below in the ‘England PTI List’. Animal Health has written to herd owners individually to confirm what their parish testing interval and herd testing interval will be.
But Animal Health will not have written to camelid herd owners, as by statute they have no control over identification, movement or disease control of these animals.

Thus the new regulations which began on January 1st, and which we looked into in that posting, do not apply to camelid herds. The alpaca TB website has more. They explain that they have been inundated with enquiries from camelid owners, following these changes in terminology and consequential action on TB breakdowns, which they assumed included camelids. They do not. For the simple reason that, as we pointed out, Defra still have no statute to cover TB in any other species than 'bovine animals and farmed deer'. During communications to confirm the position, senior Defra policy officials explain:
There are no ‘officially’ TB free herds of camelids in the UK for the simple reason that they are not routinely screened for TB with a validated ante-mortem test as most cattle herds are, plus there are no agreed criteria for designating camelid herds as ‘OTF’ (Officially TB free).

Those that are NOT currently subject to movement restrictions due to an infection confirmed by VLA should at best be regarded as ‘TB status unknown’.

The changes apply only to cattle, farmed buffalo and farmed bison herds, which (unlike camelids and other non-bovine farmed animals) are within the scope of EU Directive 64/432/EEC and, therefore, subject to mandatory routine TB surveillance by tuberculin skin testing at regular intervals.

Current TB policy relating to camelids, which was updated recently can be found on the Alpaca TB website on this link.

Meanwhile, tuberculosis continues to ravage camelid herds, (and cats, dogs, free range pigs and many other mammals) despite Defra's other species statistics indicating problem? - what problem ?

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