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Overseas experience to boost foot and mouth preparedness

Overseas experience to boost foot and mouth preparedness

A team of vets and animal industry representatives are heading to Nepal next week for first-hand experience in dealing with foot and mouth disease (FMD), Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says.

“This field training is part of a newly signed agreement with Australia to cooperate and work together on preparedness for this disease,” Mr Guy says.

“While both countries are determined that it never enters our borders, we still need to be prepared and work on our readiness and capacity.

“Everyone knows that an outbreak would have major impacts on our valuable livestock industries, disrupting our exports and trading reputation. It would be devastating for farming families, rural businesses and communities.

“The key to successfully managing an outbreak and stamping out the disease is early detection of its presence. This field training provides experience for frontline troops in recognising the signs of the disease.

“Australia has a well-established training programme held in Nepal where FMD is widespread. Under a new trans-Tasman agreement on FMD preparedness, 10 New Zealanders will take part in next week’s session and a further 10 will visit Nepal next year.”

During their week in Nepal the team will undertake classroom training as well as visiting affected properties, looking at cases, aging lesions on animals, taking samples and practising on-farm biosecurity.

They will also undertake analytical work, looking at how the disease could have arrived at the properties visited and providing recommendations on controlling the disease to the Nepalese.

Preference for attendance in the training has been given to frontline veterinarians and two places each course (2014 and 2015) have been allocated to primary industry participants.

The selection process also prioritised individuals who are Initial Investigating Veterinarians, meaning they are the first vets sent out to investigate suspect cases of FMD, and members of the National Biosecurity Capability Network. This is a network of individuals and organisations that would be called on to undertake operations in a biosecurity response.

The group selected includes a mix of veterinarians from the private sector and MPI, along with two industry representatives from Beef + Lamb New Zealand and Dairy NZ.

Ends

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