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Farmers at frontline of biosecurity defence

Farmers at frontline of biosecurity defence

Protect NZ is enlisting the support of farmers at the country’s National Agricultural Fieldays in the ongoing battle against incursions of unwelcome pests and diseases.

As part of its approach to the rural community on effective biosecurity, the awareness campaign is distributing an identification guide to help pastoral farmers recognise some of the animal diseases the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is most concerned about.

Using a small foldout leaflet that farmers can stow in their ute or pocket, Protect New Zealand is promoting the message “Look, check, ask a vet”.

The leaflet graphically illustrates the symptoms of six key ruminant diseases, providing a handy reference for farmers to check out any unusual conditions they may discover in their stock.

The animal diseases covered are: foot and mouth disease, sheep pox, lumpy skin disease, vesicular stomatitis, bluetongue and rinderpest.

Protect New Zealand’s Co-ordinator Adrienne Tollemache says most farmers are aware of the devastating consequences of some animal diseases.

“We only have to look at the recent impact on the Canadian meat industry of the discovery of a cow with BSE in that country. And most farmers will remember the graphic images from Britain’s recent foot and mouth disease outbreak,” she says.

“Farmers are a vital link in ensuring that New Zealand remains free of these conditions that could devastate their livelihoods and the country’s economy. Early detection of the diseases is vital in stopping their spread.”

The “Look, check, ask a vet” brochures will be handed out at Protect New Zealand’s site at Fieldays.

Protect New Zealand is joining forces at Mystery Creek with MAF’s Quarantine Service and Biosecurity Authority to promote the biosecurity message in an interactive way.

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