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Bovine TB
TB testing: the pursuit of perfection
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  • Published on:
    TB testers: the pursuit of excellence
    • Bill Pepper, Senior OV and Director XL Farmcare SouthEast

    The TB tester audit information detailed in the recent correspondence from XL Farmcare UK suggests that the vast majority of TB testing in this country is currently being carried out to a very high standard and is another small but significant positive news story from the bovine TB battle front.
    The incidence of confirmed slaughterhouse cases (another indirect measure of the quality of on farm TB testing) has also been declining with a 40% reduction over the last 5 years (DEFRA statistics).
    Having been TB testing for four decades, it is my observation that recent changes in the training of new TB testers and the introduction of regular on farm TB audits by XL Farmcare UK and APHA, have both been significant factors in pushing up the quality of TB testing in England and Wales to the current high levels. Some of the audits are unannounced but all have been collaborative and when deficits in technique are identified, the XL Farmcare auditors, who are experienced in testing themselves, have also been offering coaching to help ensure confidence in the correct technique.
    This outcome is particularly commendable, as those that are now performing this task at a high standard, are often working in conditions on farm that are less than ideal.
    In my opinion, the challenges today are how to maintain these high standards, how to improve the level of health & safety expectations on farm during a TB test, and for APHA to start to recognise the value of...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.