Tuberculosis (Scotland) Order 2023 changes: letter from the Chief Veterinary Officer

To whom it may concern,

Information for Cattle Keepers in Scotland

Changes under The Tuberculosis (Scotland) Order 2023 and reminder about reporting abortions in cattle for Brucellosis surveillance

I am writing to make you aware that tighter controls to reduce the risk of spreading Bovine Tuberculosis (TB) will come into force on 18 May under the Tuberculosis (Scotland) Order 2023.

From 18 May, the new legislation will require stricter pre-movement testing of cattle coming to Scotland from a TB high incidence area (areas in England and Wales where cattle must be tested more frequently than every two years), and those coming from a low incidence TB area of England or Wales that have lived in these high incidence areas at any time of their life. These changes aim to reduce the risk of disease entering Scotland by adding extra precautions for animals coming from higher areas of infection.

After 18 May, eligible cattle, as described above, will require a clear pre-movement TB test within 30 days prior to the movement to Scotland. This requirement was previously 60 days and the 60 day validity continues to apply to any cattle tested prior to 18th May. Additional changes also mean that a negative TB test in a herd under movement restrictions due to a TB breakdown will no longer be accepted as a qualifying pre-movement test, even if the test allows these restrictions to be lifted.

These pre-movement testing requirements will mostly affect those selling cattle from England and Wales to farms in Scotland, but it is important that you ensure in advance that appropriate pre-movement testing has been carried out when purchasing cattle from outwith Scotland. If you receive cattle that were not pre-movement tested and not exempt you must isolate the cattle as soon as possible, arrange and pay for a TB test to be carried out, and inform your local Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) office immediately. If cattle have been moved to your premises without the necessary pre-movement test, your holding will be put under movement restrictions until these animals have tested clear for TB.

In addition, compensation will be reduced for any unclean cattle slaughtered for TB control purposes. This change will only affect a very small number of cattle keepers who have a TB breakdown but present animals with a long term build up of dirt at the slaughterhouse.

A new definition for “isolation” is also being introduced to provide clearer guidance for keepers who have a breakdown and are required to isolate cattle which are affected, or suspected of being affected, with TB. Compensation will also be reduced for cattle that are not properly isolated and are subsequently slaughtered for TB purposes.

It is important that all cattle keepers familiarise themselves with the new rules in relation to TB in Scotland. If you would like more information on bovine tuberculosis in Scotland, please visit our web page on bovine TB.

As a reminder, if any of your cattle have either premature calving or an abortion of a calf, you must report this to the APHA within 24 hours under the Brucellosis (Scotland) Order 2009. There has been a trend of reduced reporting of cattle abortions, however it is a legal requirement for farmers to report this for further investigation. The cow must be isolated and any product of abortion or premature calving must be retained and kept away from other cattle on the premises. This is to support Scotland’s Brucellosis surveillance and to ensure we continue to have confidence in our officially Brucellosis free status.

You may also wish to contact your local APHA office if you require any further information.

Yours sincerely,

Sheila Voas

Chief Veterinary Officer (Scotland)


Tuberculosis (Scotland) Order 2023 changes: letter from the Chief Veterinary Officer - full publication (

Bovine TB - advice and guidance (

Published on: 11 May, 2023