Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for livestock keepers

Published: 2 Oct 2020
Last updated: 15 Oct 2020 - see all updates

Guidance on statutory testing of livestock.

2 Oct 2020
Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for livestock keepers

The current COVID-19 requirements require everyone to follow the guidance on essential businesses and social distancing.  We have been asked to provide Scottish Government guidance on statutory testing, and Sheila Voas, Chief Veterinary Officer Scotland, has given the following advice, which will be updated as required:

The COVID-19 situation continues to change rapidly and protection of public health is central to the advice on animal health.  We are all adapting to manage the risk associated with Corona virus together with the on-going need to protect animal health and welfare and to avoid the long-term consequences of loss of disease control measures. 

Please note the following Scottish Government guidance:

Provided that you can practise safe social distancing, apply hygiene and sanitation measures and comply with all other standard health and safety requirements, statutory testing should continue for now. This includes:

  • TB (4 yearly herd tests, post import and breakdown investigation)
  • BVD annual herd screening (by check test, testing all calves or testing all animals)       
  • Anthrax inquiries
  • Brucella (post import and abortion reports)
  • TSE (post mortem sampling)
  • Salmonella testing (poultry flocks)

If sampling/testing is impossible due to COVID-19 constraints, herds will be identified as overdue for the statutory test.  If you are unable to carry out a test please document the reason why in case of future audit. 

The usual restrictions will apply to herds with overdue TB and BVD testing.  These will be reversed as soon as required testing is completed.

Cattle can move direct to an abattoir regardless of their BVD status.

The usual enforcement procedures will be modified or waived as appropriate.  

Farmers should avoid risky behaviour and accept that incomplete surveillance may increase the risk of disease.  We would encourage all farmers to buy animals with care and keep purchased animals separate from the existing herd/flock.

Scotland’s TB surveillance programme already exempts 57% of herds from routine testing and over 80% in the remote North West.

We are all working to keep the food chain functioning, respect the concerns of vulnerable individuals and avoid the long-term consequences of loss of disease control measures. 

Keep well and look after yourselves and each other in these challenging times.

First published: 2 Oct 2020 Last updated: 15 Oct 2020 -