U.K. farmers protest more stringent TB protocols

The U.K. South West National Farmers Union Livestock Board is calling for a delay to changes in bovine tuberculosis testing rules and movement controls until a wildlife cull begins.

The group recently submitted a resolution to its national board and hopes to hear from both the U.K. Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the European Commission, according to FWI.co.uk.

"The South West Livestock Board is concerned that additional cattle control regulations as part of a wider bTB eradication plan are not being implemented in parallel with a cull to tackle the disease in the wildlife reservoir and would insist that the measures are delayed until a wildlife cull begins," the board's resolution said, FWI.co.uk reports.

Farmers in southwest England are concerned about the proposed changes, which are slated to come into effect on January 1. The measures are designed to make the TB testing regime more stringent and include restrictions to restocking after a TB breakdown and changes to rules governing animal quarantine.

The restrictions would keep farmers from accumulating more livestock after an unconfirmed breakdown until they pass a 60-day test and receive a satisfactory veterinarian risk assessment.

"As the cull has been postponed it is only fair that these other changes are postponed as well," Alex Stevens, the south-west food and farming adviser at the NFU, said, FWI.co.uk reports. "The proposals go hand-in-hand, and should all come into force at the same time."