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Hawke’s Bay TB Free

17 August 2011

Hawke’s Bay TB Free

Hawke’s Bay has received an all clear from the Animal Health Board (AHB) as there are now no herds infected with bovine tuberculosis in the region.

Timahanga Station off the Napier Taihape Road had the last herd to be given a clear status.

“This is brilliant news for local farmers,” says Chairman Fenton Wilson who is also the national representative of Regional Councils on the Animal Health Board.

“It’s a result of a lot of hard work. The Regional Council has played its part but mostly it has been driven by the desire of Hawke’s Bay farmers to get rid of this disease. While it’s the beginning of a new phase, we need to stay vigilant and keep up monitoring via TB herd testing and the AHB maintenance TB Vector Control programmes.”

At its peak there were 21 herds (deer & beef) on movement control in Hawke’s Bay. Movement control is when a farmer cannot shift his stock off his property until they have had two clear tests, except to the works for slaughter. In 1989 there was no bovine TB recorded in any herds in Hawke’s Bay but by 2004, 21 separate herds were on movement control.

Staff from within the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Biosecurity team actively manage the Animal Health Boards Vector (possum) Control programme for the east coast area. It is the only regional council in the country that does so; across the rest of New Zealand the AHB manages the programme themselves.

Chairman Wilson says that the region’s possum control areas (PCA) programme has also been an important factor in keeping possum populations down. The PCA programme extends over the parts of rural Hawke’s Bay that are outside AHB contract areas, and involves groups of farmers who maintain possum populations down to very low levels. The PCA programme is monitored and has had generally good results region wide.

“Regaining a TB free status is a reward for farmers’ hard work and a reminder to them of the value of pest control work in keeping livestock healthy and free of this disease.”

Hawke’s Bay has a fixed budget of $5.3 M for 2011/12 of which Council contributes $695,000. This year’s programme will involve ground control over 252,000 ha and a further 60,000 ha to be treated by helicopter.

ENDS

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