We have a new website go to gov.scot

Diseases - Bovine Tuberculosis

Important Changes to Disease Control Measures and Compensation Arrangements for Bovine TB from 12 December 2018 are advised below - It is important that all cattle keepers familiarise themselves with these new rules.

Scotland achieved Officially Tuberculosis Free Status (OTF) in September 2009. OTF is recognition of the relatively low and stable incidence of TB found in Scottish herds.

Bovine Tuberculosis (TB) is a devastating chronic disease of cattle and a major challenge facing large parts of the UK cattle farming industry today. Although the disease is controlled in most developed countries, the complete eradication worldwide is made difficult by wildlife reservoirs that continue to exist.

TB is a contagious disease caused by the mycobacterium bovis. The disease is characterised by the development of "tuberculosis" lesions in any organ of the body. It mainly affects cattle but can be passed between most mammals. It is also a Zoonotic which means it can be passed from infected animals to people, causing an illness similar to human TB. However, the risk of people contracting TB from cattle in GB is considered to be very low. Advice is issued by APHA and Health Protection Scotland on reducing the risk of M.bovis infection in humans.

Changes to Disease Control Measures and Compensation Arrangements for Bovine TB from 12 December 2018 

In 2017 the Scottish Government consulted on proposed changes to disease control measures and compensation arrangements for bovine TB in Scotland. This consultation set out a number of proposals to update the Tuberculosis (Scotland) Order 2007 and to introduce changes to the requirements for post movement testing and the way we pay compensation. The new arrangements will be introduced on the 12 December 2018 when the supporting legislation (Tuberculosis (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Scotland) (No.2) Order 2018 )comes into force.

The changes, which are outlined below, are intended to ensure that TB controls in Scotland both incentivise compliance with the rules and encourage cattle keepers to follow best practice when purchasing and moving cattle throughout Scotland and beyond. 

  • Change to Post Movement Testing Rules - Animals which require to be post movement tested following their arrival in Scotland will now need to be held on the original premises of destination until this testing has been completed with negative results.
  • Non-payment of Compensation for Illegal Movements onto Restricted Herds - Compensation will now be resticted to a nominal payment of £1 for any animals which are found to have been illegally moved onto a restricted herd and subsequently go onto become TB reactors.
  • Reduced Compensation following Overdue Testing - Compensation will now be reduced where any statutory TB testing has not been carried out within the alloted testing period advised by the APHA and TB reactors are subsequently identified. The reduction will be applied on a sliding scale where testing has gone overdue by 60days or more.
  • Introduction of a Two Tier Cap on Compensation for Individual Animals - A maximum amount of compensation payable for each individual TB reactor has now been introduced. This cap has been set at £7,500 for all pure bred pedigree bovine animals, and £5,000 for all other non-pedigree bovine animals.
  • Prohibition on Testing of Bovine Animals - The prohibition on testing bovine animals for TB without written consent has now been extended to include any type of diagnostic test for tuberculosis.

A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document which provides further information on the above changes is also available to view here. TB - FAQ 2018


Statistics on bovine TB incidence in Great Britain can be found at; http://www.defra.gov.uk/statistics/foodfarm/landuselivestock/cattletb/national/