Blood testing - Advice from Andrew Byron, Farmer 7/6/2001

 

Rumours are circulating that MAFF are planning a renewed round of culling following the election. Both MAFF and NFU have denied this. MAFF do intend to blood test sheep in infected areas.

 

We have asked them to clarify their policy regarding these blood tests.

 

Policy regarding blood tests

 

(a) Large flocks

Only some animals from each flock will be tested - maximum 60 samples per flock.

Samples are not identified to individual animals.

If all the samples are negative, the flock will be declared 'Negative'.

 

(b) Less than 30 animals

All will be tested.  if all are tested, ensure samples are numbered to match to sheep

 

One positive sample

Sample will be re-tested using a different test.

If result is still positive, every animal in the flock will be sampled (large flocks).

Each sample is identified against an individual animal.

If there is still only one positive result that animal will be culled and the rest declared 'Negative'.

 

Two or more positive samples

3.There is NO second lab test of the samples.

The flock will be declared 'Positive' and culled as a Dangerous Contact. (DC).

 

On slaughter the animals will be examined for FMD lesions, including healed lesions, and if found, will then be declared an Infected Premises (IP)  ie a Confirmed Case of Foot and Mouth.

 

Contiguous culls of neighbouring farms could take place, up to 3km,

and dangerous contacts will be traced.

 

Where will policy apply

 

England, Scotland and Wales -no provisions for regional variations.

Some alterations to this policy will occur, as the testing program gets under way.

 

Recommendations

 

Number your sheep  ensure the samples are labelled to match the animals.

In the event of positive results the animals can be identified.

These should be examined.

If found healthy, with no signs of lesions you can appeal against the cull.

 

What happens if you refuse  will you get paid?

 

We also understand that in some cases, farmers unwilling to agree to the cull of their livestock have been told that such a refusal will result in the with holding of the 'compensation' payment. This is completely untrue. The payment due on valuation of both infected and uninfected livestock is not 'compensation' but for 'compulsory purchase' by the Government and cannot be withheld.