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Concern At Lack Of Farmer Comment On Tb NPMS

31 May 2000

PR44/2000

Concern At Lack Of Farmer Comment On Tb Npms

NZ Meat and Fibre Producers Chairman Chris Lester is concerned that cattle farmers are underestimating the potential impact of the Animal Health Board's proposed Tb Strategy.

"Farmers need to recognise the proposed strategy's implications. Cattle farmers do not appear to be taking the time to study the Animal Health Board's proposal," said Mr Lester.

"If carried though, the strategy will have considerable impact both financially and on day to day farming practices."

Key components of the proposed strategy include: Disease Control Strategies:
* Animal Identification: Traceability of individual animals will become increasingly important. Stockowners will be required to maintain detailed records.
* Classification of Tb Management Areas: New Zealand would be divided into two areas: Officially Free (no more than 0.2% herds infected) and Controlled
* Movement Control: Movement controls within and between Officially Free and Controlled areas will be tightened.
* Testing: Herds in controlled areas will be tested annually with the ability to go out to biennial testing. Test eligible animals in controlled areas: dairy six weeks of age and over, cattle three months of age and over, deer six months of age and over. Herds in Officially Free areas would require triennial testing of all female stock and entire males two years of age and over.

Vector Control Strategies: Significantly increase vector control. Currently vector control programs cover nearly three million ha at an annual cost of $34.4m. Under the proposal, vector control would expand to an estimated nine million ha, at an average estimated cost of $66m per year.

"All cattle farmers will be affected by the proposed $13/head slaughter levy. Some farmers will face severely restricted stock movement options and others may be required to greatly increase their herd's surveillance testing," concluded Mr Lester.

Most rural papers have printed versions of the strategy, and the AHB has full copies available.

ENDS For further information: Chris Lester 025-978-424 Maxine Yule 04-473-7269


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