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Tongariro Eruption – Animal and Stock Welfare Advisory

Tongariro Eruption – Animal and Stock Welfare Advisory

This morning’s eruption could cause animal welfare problems if water and clean feed is not available.

“Access to fresh clean water is imperative for livestock grazing ash covered pastures” Dr Donald Shanks from VetPlus in Taupo said today.

Contaminated water troughs should be cleared of ash and refilled with clean water.. I if practicable, troughs can be covered during any future eruptions to prevent further ash contamination. But, of course, access to water must always be available,” Dr Donald Shanks said.

Ensuring stock have access to longer length , grassy pasture will help reduce ash and contaminated soil ingestion.

“Pregnant ewes were particularly vulnerable duringprevious Ruapehu eruptions. In-lamb ewes were more susceptible to metabolic upsets caused by a combination of eating ash and low food intake. Significant numbers of ewes died as a result. With lambing coming up this will be a possible concern if the eruptions continue,” Dr Shanks commented.

“If good length pasture is not available then stock should be fed supplementary feed such as hay or silage, although stock not used to this sort of feed might take some time to get used to it.

“Volcanic ash can also affect the skin and lungs” says Dr Wayne Ricketts from the NZ Veterinary Association and co chair of the National Animal Welfare Emergency Management Advisory Group.

“Ash can be detrimental to an animal’s health e.g. eye, skin (infections due to ash covering the animals body and not allowing air to circulate, therefore the skin becomes a humid environment for normal bacteria for proliferate) and lung damage.

Animals with respiratory disease should be evacuated from the area, and/or kept indoors if possible. Ash can wear down teeth quickly particularly with grazing animals (cattle and horses are most at risk).

Dr Shanks says a common-sense approach to animal welfare should be adopted. At this stage he is unaware of any stock that have been affected


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