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Guidance and further information on Pre-Movement Testing (PrMT) and Post-Movement testing (PoMT).

First published:
31 May 2024
Last updated:

Introduction

Throughout this guidance, the term ‘cattle’ includes farmed bison and Asiatic water buffalo. 

The information below refers to cattle moving to and from Officially TB Free i.e. unrestricted herds, in Wales. 

A “green market” is a market, where animals are sent for trading from which they can move to unrestricted herds. 

You can find out more at Bovine TB: pre-movement and post-movement testing in Great Britain (on gov.uk)

You can find a summary of when pre and post movement testing is required at Bovine TB: pre and post-movement testing summary.

Pre-Movement Testing (PrMT)

All cattle moving from an unrestricted holding in Wales need to have had a clear PrMT within the 60 days before the move. This is unless the animal is under 42 days of age, or the movement is exempt. Clear PrMT results are valid for 60 days (or 30 days for moves to Scotland), from the date of injection of the skin test, which is day zero of the 60 day period. The day after the injection is day one and so on. Cattle leaving the farm must have a valid PrMT on the day the cattle move off. If the movement is via a market, the cattle must have a valid PrMT on the day the cattle leave the market.

Calves under 42 days old (i.e. 41 days or less) do not require a PrMT. When calculating the date that a calf becomes eligible for a PrMT, the date of birth of the calf is counted as day zero. The day after birth is day one and so on. Calves leaving the farm must be 41 days old or less on the day the calves move off. If the movement is via a market, the calves must be 41 days old or less on the day the calves leave the market.

A pre-movement test is not required, when a move is as follows:

  • to a place for veterinary treatment e.g. a vet practice, as long as the animal:
    • is returned back home after the treatment
    • is killed, or 
    • goes direct to slaughter
  • to an abattoir, a slaughter gathering or a collection centre, where all animals are being sent to slaughter
  • from a market to return home, when the animal is not sold (NB. an animal must have been pre-movement tested before moving to a “green market”. This ensures an animal can return home, if not covered by a PrMT)
  • to an exempt finishing unit (EFU) in England, either directly or via an exempt market in Wales or England
  • directly to an approved finishing unit (AFU) in England, or Wales
  • to an agricultural show that does not involve a stay of more than 24 hours or housing of that animal at the showground. This is as long as the animal either:
    • goes directly from the show to slaughter, or 
    • is returned back home after the show

These are referred to as “exempt shows”. (Please note: in Wales, tents and marquees (even those with no sides) are considered to be housing).

A PrMT is a private test organised and paid for by the farmer with their vet. A test paid for by Government can also be considered as a PrMT when it meets the testing requirements. 

Markets

All cattle of 42 days old and over in Wales moving to a “green” market, require a PrMT, before they leave the farm. A further test is not required, before leaving a “green market”.

All cattle 42 days old and over in Wales moving to a “green” market, must have a PrMT, before they leave the farm. Cattle must have a valid PrMT on the day they leave the market unless the animal is returning to the farm which it came. 

Pre-movement testing and common land

TB testing cattle moving to and from common land is important. Cattle from more than one herd can be mixing on common land, increasing the potential for TB spread. For farmers: 

  • with grazing rights, and 
  • with land adjacent to common land, and 
  • whose common land is included in the holding

TB testing may not be practical while the cattle are on the common. Movement back to the main holding may be allowed under licence issued by APHA, subject to conditions being met. These conditions may include that: 

  • a TB test must be undertaken as soon as possible and within 60 days after the movement back from the common, and
  • the cattle must be kept separate from other bovine animal (and deer) on the holding until they have been tested, or
  • the whole herd is tested every six months

Contact APHA Field Delivery Wales on 0300 303 8268 for further information. 

Where the cattle keeper is the sole cattle grazier of the common land (adjacent or not) and it has been merged into the primary production location (PPL), the common land is considered part of the premises. So, pre-movement testing is not required.

We have issued a general licence: Bovine TB: moving cattle, which have not had a pre-movement or post-movement TB test, to or from common land. This exempts pre-movement testing movements between main premises and adjacent common land where the cattle keeper is the sole cattle grazier of the adjacent common land which has been merged into to the PPL.

Pre-movement testing and non-exempt shows

A clear pre-movement test needs to cover a move to a non-exempt show, the period it is resident at the showground and the day it moves from the showground. Cattle moving to the show from the Low Risk Area of England and Scotland are covered by a general licence exempting them from pre-movement testing requirements at the showground. Conditions of the general licence can be found at Bovine TB: moving cattle from a non-exempt show that originate from a herd located in the Low Risk Area of England, or Scotland. But some non-exempt shows in Wales require a pre-movement test for all cattle entering the show. 

Monitoring compliance

Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) monitor compliance with the rules. They inform Local Authorities if they believe keepers have not carried out a PrMT when they should have.

Post-movement testing (PoMT)

All cattle need a PoMT, within the period 60-120 days after arrival on a holding, when they are moved into:

  • the Low TB Area of Wales from:
    • an Intermediate TB Area or High TB Area in Wales
    • the Edge Area or High Risk Area of England
    • Northern Ireland
  • an Intermediate TB Area of Wales from:
    • a High TB Area in Wales
    • the High Risk Area of England
    • Northern Ireland

Where a calf (under the age of 42 days) is purchased from a higher risk area into the Low or Intermediate TB Areas, the purchaser must PoMT the calf between 60 and 120 days after it moved on.

When an animal is eligible for a PoMT, it can only be moved off, without a clear PoMT, when a move from the farm is:

  • to an abattoir, a slaughter gathering, or a collection centre where all cattle are destined for slaughter
  • to an approved finishing unit (AFU) in Wales, or England, or 
  • licensed by an APHA, or Local Authority inspector

If any animal is being moved from a farm, no PoMT is required at the destination premises, when the move is to:  

  • an abattoir, a slaughter gathering, or a collection centre where all cattle are destined for slaughter
  • a place for veterinary treatment e.g. a vets practice as long as it:
    • returns home after the treatment
    • is killed, or 
    • goes direct to slaughter
  • an exempt finishing unit in England either directly or indirectly through an exempt market in Wales or England
  • an AFU in Wales or England
  • a licensed finishing unit in Wales, or England
  • an agricultural show that does not involve a stay of more than 24 hours or housing of that animal at the showground. This is as long as the animal either goes directly from the show to slaughter or is returned back home after the show. These are referred to as “exempt shows”. (Please note: in Wales, tents and marquees (even those with no sides) are considered to be housing.)
  • an agricultural show that is not considered exempt for the reason above, but where the cattle are moved in and out of a certified Quarantine Unit during a show season 

No PoMT is required when an animal is received at a premises in the low TB area, or Intermediate TB Areas of Wales from:

  • the low risk area in England

a herd which is a member of a CHeCS TB health scheme and the animal/ herd is classified as level 10. Bovine TB: moving cattle from an accredited herd into the low TB area covers such. The new keeper receiving the bovine animals must notify the Animal and Plant Health Agency of the movement. A new keeper declaration is available on gov.uk.

A PoMT is a private test organised and paid for by the farmer with their vet. A test paid for by Government is also considered as a PoMT, when it meets the testing requirements.

CHECS

The CHECS level 10 accreditation covers only cattle that were born on the holding only. This is in recognition of the lower risk posed by those herds, which have not had TB for ten or more years. We hope it will also increase participation in the TB health schemes. Please note: the CHECS programme differs from the statutory TB controls in several ways. For participating herds, it is recommended all added animals are placed in isolation upon arrival and additional pre and post-movement testing may also be required. The CHECS testing requirements are not affected by this exemption. Further information relating to standards and protocols is available at www.checs.co.uk.

If you are interested in joining CHECS, discuss with your vet and contact one of the scheme providers: 

  • Aber Cattle Health Scheme
    Wales Veterinary Science Centre 
    Y Buarth 
    Aberystwyth
    Ceredigion 
    SY23 1ND
    AFBI Cattle Health Scheme (www.checs.co.uk)
    Tel:01970 612374
    E-mail: enquiries@wvsc.wales
  • HiHealth Herdcare
    Tel: 01314 402628
  • Premium Cattle Health Scheme (www.checs.co.uk)
    Tel: 01835 822456

Understanding when a purchased animal needs a PoMT

It is the responsibility of the purchasing farmer to PoMT any eligible animals. You can use:

to understand the TB area from where a purchased animal originates. APHA send out a monthly advisory letter to farmers who have moved cattle on, which appear to require a PoMT, but this may not identify all eligible animals. 

Monitoring compliance

Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) monitor compliance with the rules. They inform Local Authorities if they believe keepers have not carried out a PoMT when they should have.

Trace testing of an animal that has already received a PoMT with negative results 

If any test has been completed less than 120 days after the animal moved from a holding that has since had a TB breakdown, it must be retested when 120 days have elapsed (and at least 60 days from any previous test). This:

  • increases our chances of identifying TB infected cattle as early as possible
  • minimises the likelihood of onward transmission of disease into resident animals, and 
  • minimises impact in the herd

PoMT and animals brought home unsold from market 

Markets are designated as neutral areas. So, there will be no restrictions on where farmers in different areas can take their animals to sell or buy. Animals unsold in a “green market” do not require a PoMT on return to the low TB area or the intermediate TB areas. 

PoMT requirements for cattle returning, from a non-exempt agricultural show 

A non-exempt show is a show that is longer than 24 hours, or is a show of 24 hours or less, but where cattle are housed. Eligible cattle need to receive a PoMT between 60-120 days after returning, or moving to the Low TB Area, or Intermediate TB Area, from a non-exempt show. 

No post-movement test is required at a non-exempt showground in Wales. This is exempted by a general licence: Bovine TB: moving cattle from a non-exempt show in low TB or intermediate TB areas before a post-movement test is completed. Cattle moving from a higher risk TB area to a non-exempt show and then to a lower risk TB area are required to be post movement tested.

Animals which require a post-movement test following return from a non-exempt show in a higher TB risk area to the Low TB Area, or the Intermediate TB Area, will only be allowed to move off to further exempt and non-exempt shows during the season if they: 

  • have received a PoMT test with clear results, or 
  • move into a certified Quarantine Unit (QU) and remain in the Quarantine Unit (when not at a show) through the show season, until a final PoMT test has been completed with clear results. A PoMT test will be required at 60-120 days after the initial movement back from a non-exempt show located in a higher risk area to the Quarantine Unit. Bovine animals must be moved out of the QU immediately after satisfying the post-movement testing  requirements. 

The movements of show cattle from the Low TB Area and Intermediate TB Areas to and from agricultural shows and back into a QU, are covered by a general licence. The conditions of the general licence can be found at: Bovine TB: moving cattle to a non-exempt show from a certified Quarantine Unit.

The conditions include a requirement to notify APHA of the first movement of a bovine animal into a QU and the final movement of a bovine animal into the QU. The final movement back into the QU must be in the same calendar year, as the first movement in, to ensure that a final PoMT is completed. Ad-hoc inspections to ensure the cattle are retained in the QU may be carried out by APHA. Any breaches of conditions of the licence may result in the licence being revoked for an individual holding for a specified period.  

Use of the QU will protect a keeper’s own herd and will reduce the risk of disease being spread within the Low or intermediate TB Area prior to completion of post-movement testing. Otherwise, the keeper would not be able to move their cattle to multiple shows within the show season because the animals must remain on the holding until completion of a clear PoMT. 

There should be no mixing of animals within the Quarantine Unit whilst it is being used for show animals. This means that sheep and cattle moving on and off the farm in the normal course of events either trigger the 6-day standstill or move through a separate QU. This would include show sheep and goats. We recognise that mixing during transit may constitute a risk. Our advice would be not to mix species during transit where practicable. Allowing sheep into the same QU as the show cattle needlessly extends the period of contact.

Lactating animals must not leave a QU to be milked. The sharing of milking facilities between quarantined and non-quarantined animals is not permitted. If dairy animals enter the QU, a dedicated temporary milking facility can be used within the QU itself. Any portable equipment must not be moved out of the QU, before thorough cleansing and disinfection has taken place. Milk from animals within the QU can be sold in the normal way but must not be fed to other animals on the main holding (including cats and dogs). 

Certified Quarantine Units

A Quarantine Unit (QU) certified by a certification body, on behalf of the Welsh Government, is a specific type of isolation facility, for cattle, sheep, or goats, moving on to a holding, to provide short term accommodation. This is to negate the requirement for the whole holding to be subject to the 6-day standstill. They operate to specified operational rules and requirements, to prevent contact with other animals on the holding and are approved by a certification body. A Certified QU provides an appropriate level of biosecurity. They are inspected to ensure standards are maintained and that QUs are being used as they should be.

Under the General Licence: Bovine TB: moving cattle to a non-exempt show from a certified Quarantine Unit when used for cattle moving to and from non-exempt shows in the Low and Intermediate TB Areas, a certified QU must only contain similar cattle moving to and from non-exempt and exempt shows. 

Certified Quarantine Unit requirements and operational rules may be similar to those for other isolation facilities, depending on: 

  • the use and requirements for those isolation facilities, and 
  • whether they are part of a requirement for a scheme, such as the industry TB Cattle Health Schemes, operating under CHECS

QUs must be certified by a Certification Body accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS). There is currently one Certification Body accredited to certify QUs: 

Quality Welsh Food Certification Ltd. 
Email: info@qwfc.co.uk 
Tel: 01970 636 688 

The Certification Body will be able to provide you with QU standards and operational rules. Once you have set up your QU in adherence to the standards provided, you should contact the Certification Body to arrange for it to be reviewed and certified. Certification Bodies will charge a fee for this service.