Scotland achieved Officially Tuberculosis Free Status (OTF) in September 2009. OTF is recognition of the relatively low and stable incidence of TB found in Scottish herds. This status also provided the Scottish Government with the flexibility to design a dedicated and original TB surveillance programme for the Scottish national herd and as a result, 1 January 2012 saw the introduction of a new risk-based TB testing policy in Scotland whereby ‘low risk’ herds became exempt from four-yearly routine herd testing.
The first four-year testing cycle was completed on 31 December 2015 and a subsequent review of the scheme criteria has shown that there is scope to safely increase the number of herds eligible for exemption without adversely affecting the ability to detect infected herds. The ‘low risk’ selection criteria will therefore change with effect from 1 January 2017.
The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) reassesses all herds annually and is responsible for notifying cattle keepers in Scotland whether or not their herds are exempt from routine TB testing. The letters to inform Scottish cattle keepers of their testing requirements for 2017 were issued by APHA on 22 August 2016.
In response to the identification of bovine TB in a herd on the Isle of Skye, and a further outbreak in a herd south of the border in Cumbria, the Scottish Government issued an updating summary of the situation on 11 August which can be accessed here.
Source: Scottish Government webpage: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/farmingrural/Agriculture/animal-welfare/Diseases/disease/tuberculosis