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Less TB = less TB testing

Less TB = less TB testing

The battle to vanquish bovine tuberculosis (TB) from New Zealand is in top gear as infected herd numbers fell for the fifteenth consecutive year.

Dr Paul Livingstone, Technical Manager for the Animal Health Board (AHB), says the drop in infection rates will allow for movement control boundary changes and a reduction in TB testing.

“Farmers throughout New Zealand will certainly reap the rewards from falling TB levels in cattle and deer,” says Dr Livingstone.

“The success of the AHB’s vector control programme and the resulting drop in infected herd numbers means changes will be made to several special testing areas (STA). This in turn will lead to a reduction in TB testing schedules on more than 2,045 farms across New Zealand.

“What's more, another 1,500 farmers no longer need to pre-movement test their animals before they sell or shift them The boundary reduction of four movement control areas will also generate significant benefits for farmers and farm managers in those areas.

“The AHB is very proud to deliver some direct benefits to some of the 75,000 cattle and deer herds registered with the organisation.

“We have achieved this through proactive possum control, TB testing and stock movement monitoring. Yet none of it would have been possible without the help and cooperation of farmers.

“While there is much good news to shout about, farmers and the AHB must remain vigilant as history has taught us some valuable lessons. Particularly when you consider TB infection rates peaked at more than 1,700 in the early 1990s.

“Farmers’ support for the eradication of TB is a key ingredient to the successful implementation of the National Bovine Tuberculosis Pest Management Strategy. The strategy is the catalyst for reducing TB infected herds, of which there are currently about 120 across New Zealand - 17 per cent less than this time last year.

“To keep this momentum up, we urge farmers who have questions about the TB strategy, or are unsure of their TB testing requirements, to phone 0800 482 4636,” Dr Livingstone concluded.

ENDS

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