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Local TBfree stalwart retires after three decades

22 March 2013

Local TBfree stalwart retires after three decades

Well-known Helensville farmer John Glasson will retire from the TBfree Auckland Committee this month after 30 years at the forefront of the region’s mission to control bovine tuberculosis (TB).

Mr Glasson played an important role in reducing possum numbers and cattle and deer herd TB testing requirements in the South Kaipara Head area. “I recall my first experience with bovine TB in 1953 when 48 out of my father’s 100 cattle tested positive to the disease,” said Mr Glasson. These kinds of figures are unheard of today in the Auckland region.

His father’s encounter with the disease, and the experiences of others, prompted Mr Glasson to become involved with the TB control programme as a member of the Regional Animal Health Committee in the early 1980s. He recalls large numbers of possums that were passing the disease to farmed cattle and deer in the region.

In 1988, Mr Glasson chaired a meeting of the Auckland committee that was attended by current Animal Health Board (AHB) TB Eradication and Research Manager, Dr Paul Livingstone. It was then that South Kaipara Head, south to Muriwai, was found to have a high population of TB-infected possums.

Mr Glasson’s local knowledge was invaluable in helping the regional council and AHB control TB in the area. His relationship with the local community made him a valuable member of the TBfree Auckland Committee.

“In the following years, possum numbers dropped significantly in the area. In 2004, the AHB declared the area free of infected wild animals. Testing frequencies decreased and, by 2011, herds in the area were tested every three years due to the lower TB risk,” said Mr Glasson.

He credits much of this success to co-operation between local landowners, councils, the Department of Conservation and TBfree New Zealand. This allowed the AHB to shift its current focus to eradicating bovine TB from 2.5 million hectares of New Zealand’s TB risk areas.

AHB Northern and Central North Island Regional Co-ordinator Frank Pavitt said Mr Glasson and his family helped significantly in controlling the disease. “The AHB and wider farming community wish him all the best for the future and sincerely appreciate the massive contribution he has made to the programme,” said Mr Pavitt.

Mr Glasson and his wife continue to run their 55-hectare dairy unit just outside of Helensville.

ends

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