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RHD vaccinations for pet rabbits this Saturday

8 June 2005

RHD vaccinations for pet rabbits this Saturday

Rabbit owners in the Auckland region can get their pets vaccinated against Rabbit Haemorraghic Disease (RHD - formerly called RCD or calicivirus) for just $7 each, this Saturday 11 June at the following locations, from 12 to 3pm:

AnimalZ Vet Clinics:

Esmonde Rd, Takapuna (Corner Eldon St)

128 Mt Wellington Highway

520 Te Atatu Rd

75 St Lukes Rd

ARC Biosecurity Manager Jack Craw says the ARC is offering this service to rabbit owners in the Auckland region to encourage them to vaccinate their pets.

"After discussions with rabbit owners and vets over the past two weeks, we have designed a programme to suit pet owners, which significantly reduces the normal cost (up to $45) to $7.

"It's an extremely good deal. All rabbit owners should take advantage and gets their pets vaccinated," Mr Craw says.

Members of the public can call the ARC Contact Centre on 366 2000 or visit our website www.arc.govt.nz if they require further information.

Although RHD was illegally introduced in 1997, the Environmental Risk Management Authority, the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Group of the NZ Food Safety Authority and the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee have all assessed the disease as being safe for all other animals. The disease occurs worldwide and is commonly used as a control method in many countries. RHD is rated the most humane rabbit control method currently available.

"The virus is already common and is spreading naturally throughout New Zealand. The ARC has listened to the opinions of rabbit owners, and provided a solution that I believe is a win-win for all," Mr Craw says.

The ARC will also be informing the community of the release locations. Rabbit numbers are high in some locations due to the dry autumn. Market gardeners, Landcare and Beachcare groups involved in duneland restoration, farmers, nursery owners and lifestyle block owners are keen to see RHD releases. Some of these people cannot use shooting or poisoning, and trapping is not a humane option.

RHD will be released in up to 30 strategic coastal, rural and peri-urban areas in late July to August, to boost existing control levels.

The RHD virus being used is identical to that currently naturally widespread in New Zealand. The disease is not a new strain or different to the existing disease.

ENDS


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