New surveillance zone to prevent TB spread in Cumbria
AN ‘enhanced surveillance zone’ near Penrith has been announced by Animal Health in a bid to prevent bovine TB from spreading across Cumbria.
The new surveillance zone will take in a 3km area around the dairy farm where more than 90 animals had to be slaughtered following discovery of the disease. Testing initiated by Animal Health immediately following the breakdown found no spread of the disease to neighbouring premises.
Twenty-three farms are now within the new zone, eight of which have already had a mandatory bovine TB test and the other 15 will be tested within the month.
All 23 farms will then be subject to a follow-up test in 12 months. In the meantime, bovine animals in the zone will be subject to pre-movement testing, which could remain in place for the next year.
NFU North West regional director Robert Sheasby said it would be a ‘worrying time’ for local livestock farmers as the industry had fought ‘long and hard’ to keep the disease at bay. “We will be working closely with Animal Health and our members locally to ensure everything possible is done to prevent it spreading.”
NFU Cumbria county chairman Robert Craig, a dairy farmer near Carlisle, said: “Having heard accounts of the emotional and economic cost of what it means to live with bovine TB, Animal Health’s decision is one I reluctantly have to support as the prospect of seeing bovine TB spread further across Cumbria is too frightening to contemplate.
“We now need to work together as an industry and take particular care of where we are sourcing cattle from to help reduce the risk of further cases emerging.”
There will also be wildlife testing in a wider area around the enhanced surveillance zone based on physical boundaries, such as roads, rivers, forests and urban areas. This means all deer shot or killed in the area will be tested, along with all badgers killed on the roads.