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In England, the unit cost of a TB test is 3 times greater than in New Zealand. In Northern Ireland, the cost is 4 times greater.

The following table shows unit costs in 2008. These costs were obtained by dividing the total annual spend on testing (excluding laboratory costs) by the number of tests performed.

QuantityNew
Zealand
EnglandNorthern
Ireland
Wales
Total annual test cost (£M)4.3212.4657.7643.2
Number of tests performed (M)4.864.642.2431.408
Unit cost (£)0.892.683.462.27

This data was sourced as shown below.

New ZealandRequest (Sent 02Apr09)Reply (Received 05Jun09)Received data
EnglandRequest (Sent 10May09)Reply (Received 08Jun09)Received data
Northern IrelandRequest (Sent 26Mar09)Reply (Received 04Jun09)Received data
WalesRequest (Sent 03May09)Reply (Received 29May09)Received data

In New Zealand, the following should be noted.
  • Farmers pay a levy and sums raised in this way pay for TB testing and compensatation for reactors. In fact the government does not provide any funds for testing or compensation.
  • When TB testing, the caudal fold site (which is just underneath the base of the tail) is injected rather than the neck. Hair from this site doesn't need clipping and as a consequence relatively large numbers of cattle can be tested in a day. In fact a tester may look to test approximately 1,000 cattle per day and this helps to keep the cost of testing down.

This information about New Zealand was sourced as shown below.

Request (Sent 02Apr09)Reply (Received 26May09)

On presenting these costs to DEFRA, DEFRA replied as follows.

Request (Sent 22Jun09)Reply (Received 20Jul09)

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