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Hunting stock bolsters biosecurity beagles

13/3/08

Hunting stock bolsters biosecurity beagles

Biosecurity officials are celebrating the arrival of the first beagle puppies specially bred to protect New Zealand’s international borders.

The puppies are the result of a joint collaboration between the MAF Biosecurity New Zealand (MAFBNZ) Detector Dog Breeding Programme and the Association of Masters of Harriers and Beagles (AMHB) – the governing body of British hunting beagles.

To improve the breeding line of New Zealand detector dogs, the AMHB agreed in 2006 to supply MAFBNZ with semen from the best of its hunting lines.

“The semen was then inseminated into the best working lines from the MAFBNZ detector dog breeding programme,” says Craig Hughes, MAFBNZ National Detector Dog Programme Manager.

The first four puppies were born to Paige at the Auckland-based Detector Dog Breeding Centre in February. Quartz, another MAFBNZ breeding bitch, produced the second litter (three puppies) last weekend.

“The help and assistance from the AMHB has been invaluable and we can’t express our gratitude enough. We believe the genetic material supplied to us is from the best possible lines of hunting beagles in the world,” Mr Hughes says.

“The AMHB have now helped secure the future of the MAFBNZ breeding programme, and will ensure that many more generations of high-quality detector dogs will be on hand to protect and defend New Zealand’s borders.”

AMHB director Lizzie Salmon says: “Biosecurity is of the utmost importance and we are pleased to be able to assist New Zealand’s efforts to protect the integrity of its borders.”

“We are very happy to have been able to help the programme and for the international recognition of our hunting beagles, whose bloodlines have been carefully nurtured and developed by the 67 packs of hounds in England and Wales for many generations,” she adds.

The dogs will be placed into ‘puppy walking’ homes over the next few weeks. Volunteer families care for the puppies for a year. MAFBNZ pays for necessary equipment and provides full support.

ENDS


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