Friday, July 1, 2022

Bovine TB success leads to less testing

The success of the TBfree New Zealand programme has led to more than 3750 cattle and deer herds having their movement control restrictions, or number of bovine tuberculosis (TB) tests, scaled down.

Animal Health Board (AHB) national TB manager Kevin Crews said the decrease was a result of a strong focus on TB-infected wild animal control, strict movement rules on infected herds and an extensive cattle and deer testing programme.

The board is responsible for implementing the TBfree NZ programme, which is working to eradicate bovine TB in NZ.

Changes to movement restrictions on March 1 affected about 50 herds across Tasman, Marlborough and North Canterbury.

About 3700 herds in Hawke’s Bay, Manawatu, Wanganui and Canterbury regions had their testing frequencies reduced to either every one, two or three years. The changes cover an area of just under 1.3 million hectares.

“The AHB is proud to again deliver some direct benefits to registered cattle and deer herds across the country,” Crews said.

“This is a reward for the dedication farmers have shown in supporting the TBfree NZ programme. We greatly appreciate their help and co-operation, without which this reduction would not have been possible.”

Golden Bay herd owner John Harwood has had his movement control restrictions removed and is pleased to get on with the job of farming, with fewer hassles when shifting stock. 

“No longer needing to pre-movement test our animals before we shift or sell them is a huge relief. For many farmers, pre-movement TB testing is not only a hassle but another on-farm cost,” Harwood said.

Under the national TB control plan, the board aims to eradicate the disease from one-quarter of the area at risk from the disease, which will result in further reductions in testing.

Herd owners will be notified when their next test is due, or can visit to check if they have been affected by the changes.

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