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Approved Finishing Units (AFUs) provide an outlet for the fattening and/or finishing of clear tested cattle from TB restricted holdings lacking the facilities for rearing them.

First published:
17 December 2020
Last updated:

Cattle may be purchased by an AFU operator from multiple sources. These include:

  • both TB restricted and Officially Tuberculosis Free (OTF) holdings
  • OTF gatherings (green markets)
  • exempt markets, and more recently
  • AFUs/AFUEs 

You need a licence from APHA to cover any cattle movements from:

  • a TB restricted farm
  • an AFU in Wales, or
  • an AFU/AFUE in England

to a TB Dedicated Sale.

AFUs are approved to strict biosecurity standards. They must be indoor units located in High TB Areas. AFUs are kept under permanent TB restrictions. You must adhere to approval conditions at all times. Appropriate licences enable moves on and off the premises. 

From October 2023 calves of under 90 days of age (on day of movement) originating from dairy herds, with only one potential herd clearing test remaining, will be allowed to move to an AFU/AFUE, providing there are no risk factors in the herd that increase the likelihood of these animals being future skin test reactors.  

Calves of 42 days of age and over must have tested negative to a TB test within 90 days of the movement.

Such movements will be allowed providing there are no risk factors in the herd that increase the likelihood of animals, of under 90 days of age, being future skin test reactors. Examples of such risk factors may include:

  • the breakdown is identified as and remains explosive in nature
  • animals of under 90 days of age have and continue to be identified with lung, lung lymph node, or mesenteric lesions, or
  • an animal has more recently been found with generalised TB, or lesions in the udder, or draining lymph node

There will be no requirement for further testing of these calves prior to release of restrictions at the herd of origin, following a final clear herd test. The potential herd clearance test can be completed at any time after the movement, provided it is in the testing window provided by APHA.

Cattle from TB-restricted holdings can only move to an AFU/AFUE under a licence issued by the Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA).

Since 1 January 2021 individual animals can have a single licensed move from:

  • an AFU in Wales, or
  • an AFU/AFUE in England

to another AFU in Wales, either directly or via a TB Dedicated Sale. 

This means that you can operate an AFU for rearing younger calves. This enables you to buy calves from multiple TB restricted holdings, or OTF premises. You can then rear these animals until an appropriate stage in their production cycle. At this point you can move them to another AFU capable of taking them to slaughter weight. 

Since 1 January 2021, markets in the High TB Area of Wales have been able to apply for approval to hold a TB Dedicated Sale.

Cattle from TB restricted holdings, AFUs in Wales, or AFUs/AFUEs in England can enter a TB Dedicated Sale. From there, these animals can only go to an AFU in Wales, or an AFU/AFUE in England, or be sent directly to slaughter. It is important to understand that no animal can return to its home holding from a TB Dedicated Sale, unless it has originated from an AFU/AFUE. 

From 31st December 2022, you will no longer require a pre-movement tuberculin skin test to move cattle:

  • directly between AFUs (with and without grazing), or
  • indirectly via an approved TB-dedicated sale (orange market)

These changes will apply in England and Wales.

A clear pre-movement test of cattle of 42 days or older within 90 days of a move will still be required for any moves to:

  • an AFU/AFUE, or
  • a TB Dedicated Sale

from an AFU that is non-compliant with approval conditions at the last APHA inspection visit.

Any AFU that is non-compliant with approval conditions at the last APHA inspection visit cannot move on eligible animals of 42 days, or older from:

  • an AFU /AFUE or
  • a TB Dedicated Sale

that have not received a clear pre-movement test within 90 days of the move.

Movements of cattle:

  • from an AFU directly to another AFU or
  • indirectly via an orange market

will still need to be licensed by APHA.

From 2nd October 2023, keepers of TB restricted herds can apply for a general licence (TB16e). This covers the movement of cattle:

  • directly, or
  • through an Approved Dedicated Sale for TB-restricted cattle (an “orange market”) in England or Wales to:
    • an Approved Finishing Unit (AFU)
    • an Approved Finishing Unit Enhanced with Grazing (in England) (AFUE)
    • a slaughterhouse 

The licence will be valid for the time between short-interval tests. A new licence will need to be applied for after each short-interval test.

You must identify all cattle with ear tags according to the Cattle Identification (Wales) Regulations 2007 (as amended). It is important to check that an animal has the required ear tags in place before it moves from the farm premises.