Vets urged to offer free DNA tagging.

A report int he Farmer's Guardian says that vets are being asked to carry out free DNA tagging of bovine TB reactors for free during the first six months of the new requirements being in place.

Jim Paice, farming Minister, announced on Thursday that cattle testing positive for the disease will, from mid-April, have to be DNA tagged.

Tags inserted in the ear of cattle at the time of the TB test will remove a small tissue sample at the time of insertion which can then be DNA tested by Animal Health.  The samples will be cross-checked on a random basis against the DNA from animals sent to slaughter.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) and British Cattle Veterinary Association (BCVA) said that in recognition of the seriousness of the situation, they are asking members who carry out TB tests to undertake the DNA tagging and collect tissue samples for no additional fee for a period of six months.

Mr Paice made the announcement in response to evidence that some farmers have been illegally swapping cattle eartags in order to retain highly productive TB reactors. The evidence was gathered during a regional slaughterhouse survey undertaken by Gloucestershire Trading Standards. Further investigations are now taking place in other counties.

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