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Tb Scare Shows Strategy Essential

29 June 2004
PR 138/04

Tb Scare Shows Strategy Essential

A suspected outbreak of tuberculosis in Northland is deeply disappointing for Northland farmers, and demonstrates the importance of a national strategy to combat Tb, said Howard Dixon of Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc).

His comments follow reports of a suspected outbreak on a deer farm in Northland, which has for many years been Tb-free.

"All farmers will be concerned about the outbreak, which can devastate herds and spread easily from farm to farm if movement controls are not put in place," said Mr Dixon, the meat and fibre representative in the province of Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc) in Northland.

"All farmers should support the National Pest Management Strategy on Tb, which offers a collective approach to combating bovine tuberculosis nationwide. The strategy aims for New Zealand to be officially free of Tb by 2012.

"The presence of a national strategy increases the chances for all regions to be able to remain free from Tb in the future.

"By comparison, a region by region approach to combating Tb would be ineffective as it would not stop re-infection from other areas."

Mr Dixon, a beef farmer at Ohaeawai, Bay of Islands, said the suspected outbreak was a reminder for farmers to be diligent at keeping down possum numbers on their farms.

"If the possum population is kept down, there is less risk of Tb spreading from herd to herd," he said

ENDS

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