Assessing the impact of a cattle risk-based trading scheme on the movement of bovine tuberculosis infected animals in England and Wales

Adkin, A. and Brouwer, A. and Downs, S. H. and Kelly, L. (2015) Assessing the impact of a cattle risk-based trading scheme on the movement of bovine tuberculosis infected animals in England and Wales. Preventive Veterinary Medicine. ISSN 0167-5877

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    Abstract

    The adoption of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) risk-based trading (RBT) schemes has the potential to reduce the risk of bTB spread. However, any scheme will have cost implications that need to be balanced against its likely success in reducing bTB. This paper describes the first stochastic quantitative model assessing the impact of the implementation of a cattle risk-based trading scheme to inform policy makers and contribute to cost–benefit analyses. A risk assessment for England and Wales was developed to estimate the number of infected cattle traded using historic movement data recorded between July 2010 and June 2011. Three scenarios were implemented: cattle traded with no RBT scheme in place, voluntary provision of the score and a compulsory, statutory scheme applying a bTB risk score to each farm. For each scenario, changes in trade were estimated due to provision of the risk score to potential purchasers. An estimated mean of 3981 bTB infected animals were sold to purchasers with no RBT scheme in place in one year, with 90% confidence the true value was between 2775 and 5288. This result is dependent on the estimated between herd prevalence used in the risk assessment which is uncertain. With the voluntary provision of the risk score by farmers, on average, 17% of movements was affected (purchaser did not wish to buy once the risk score was available), with a reduction of 23% in infected animals being purchased initially. The compulsory provision of the risk score in a statutory scheme resulted in an estimated mean change to 26% of movements, with a reduction of 37% in infected animals being purchased initially, increasing to a 53% reduction in infected movements from higher risk sellers (score 4 and 5). The estimated mean reduction in infected animals being purchased could be improved to 45% given a 10% reduction in risky purchase behaviour by farmers which may be achieved through education programmes, or to an estimated mean of 49% if a rule was implemented preventing farmers from the purchase of animals of higher risk than their own herd. Given voluntary trials currently taking place of a trading scheme, recommendations for future work include the monitoring of initial uptake and changes in the purchase patterns of farmers. Such data could be used to update the risk assessment to reduce uncertainty associated with model estimates.