Herdowners can no longer sell cattle while a TB inconclusive animal in the herd awaits retesting, one of a number of new TB eradication measures designed to reduce the disease risk posed by inconclusive animals.
Blood testing by the Department of Agriculture of inconclusive reactors within 30 days after the first skin test where they were detected is another new rule, to ensure all infected animals are found.
This will be followed by Department of Agriculture blood tests every six months on inconclusive animals that pass the skin re-test and the first blood test.
If these animals ever test inconclusive again at a future test, they will be removed as reactors.
Where a herd has a TB breakdown, and it already has some old inconclusive animals, these will be removed as reactors, with full compensation.
If four or more new inconclusive reactors are disclosed at a test, without any other reactors, they will be made reactor and removed with full compensation.
In cases where you have one or more reactors on a test, other inconclusive reactors on the test will be made reactor and removed from the herd with full compensation.
Under new EU rules, any herd with an inconclusive reactor will be restricted and will remain restricted until the inconclusive animal retests clear or is slaughtered.
It will still be possible to move animals directly for slaughter.
Other potential initiatives regarding inconclusive reactors will be considered by the TB Forum at a future meeting.
Research shows that cattle that test inconclusive to the TB skin test are at increased risk of becoming reactors at a later date, even after testing negative in a re-test.
Some of these animals are kept on farms for extended periods after re-testing clear.
Not all inconclusive animals progress to being reactors, but they do so at such frequency that it is important in the context of protecting herds and for the success of the eradication programme to intervene to reduce this risk.