The strategic use of the gamma-interferon (IFN-gamma) assay (Bovigam) can provide a means for the early identification of Mycobacterium bovis infected cattle, thus ensuring their removal from an infected herd. When used in parallel with the tuberculin test, it is capable of identifying infected cattle, which might otherwise not be detected until later, if at all. The early detection and removal of these animals reduces the risk that they will become a source of infection for other cattle. When targeted in herds of high prevalence the benefits to the herd owner directly concerned can be considerable as the assay provides a means of shortening the period of restriction for such herds. This serves to generate confidence among herd owners and other stakeholders that effective schemes, based on sound scientific principles, can be developed to eradicate tuberculosis from infected cattle populations.