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Update On Claimed Biosecurity Breach

11 May 2005 PR 064/05

Update On Claimed Biosecurity Breach

Federated Farmers has taken a series of actions in response to the claimed threat of a foot and mouth release on Waiheke Island, said Tom Lambie, President of Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc).

"First, Federation provinces in the north of the North Island are today sending practical advice on foot and mouth to their members. The provinces are Auckland, Hauraki-Coromandel, Waikato, and Far North, Whangarei and Kaipara Districts. The four-page letter emailed or posted tells farmers what to look for and important first steps to take if an outbreak is suspected, and includes information ramming home the potential impact on the economy.

"Second, information on the symptoms of foot and mouth in various livestock has been posted on Federated Farmers' website (www.fedfarm.org.nz).

"Third, the Federation's call centre has been fielding queries from members and non-members about foot and mouth. The freephone line can be accessed at 0800 FARMING (0800 327 646).

"Fourth, the President of the Auckland Federated Farmers, Keith Kelly, and a Federation Senior Policy Adviser, Richard Gardner, are visiting Waiheke Island later today to attend a meeting of Waiheke farmers," Mr Lambie said.

"Fifth, the Federation is looking at arranging the supply of animal feed, if necessary, to Waiheke from other Federated Farmers' provinces. Members on Waiheke have advised that they had been planning to begin destocking because of dry weather reducing feed supplies on the island. Obviously, this destocking has been delayed so supplementary feed might be required."

Mr Lambie said the Federation had put considerable resources into helping farmers cope with what is probably a very cruel and expensive hoax.

"Even though this threat is probably baseless, the possibility of a biosecurity breach is enough to cause stress to farmers. Our repeated advice is to stay calm. That said, farmers and vets need to be very vigilant in looking for any signs of the disease."

ENDS

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