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Feds disappointed but not surprised by M.bovis finds

Feds disappointed but not surprised by M.bovis finds

Federated Farmers is disappointed, but not surprised, to learn of three new finds of stock with Mycoplasma bovis.

The affected properties confirmed by the Ministry for Primary Industries today are all linked to Van Leeuwen Group farms where the cattle disease was first identified last month.

"This latest identification is obviously disappointing but it was anticipated as the animals were traced back to the origin of the initial outbreak," says Federated Farmers biosecurity spokesperson Guy Wigley.

"It’s important to keep things in perspective and not unnecessarily increase anxiety levels amongst farmers.

"The reality is it exists in most countries and they manage it just fine with trade unaffected.

"We know the frustration out there, but this is a complex bacterial infection which we have never encountered before here in New Zealand."

Guy says MPI was throwing significant resources at containing the disease and was remaining positive that it could be eradicated.

"From what I understand testing is rigorous, with the MPI animal health laboratory expecting to test more than 39,000 samples in an extensive surveillance programme over the next three months."

Feds is supporting MPI’s efforts to communicate with farmers, providing information via fact sheets, websites and public meetings.

"Affected farmers are being informed on a regular basis about sample results. The fact is, it’s going to take several months to ascertain a definitive result," Guy says.

Feds has heard talk among farmers who are bothered by MPI’s inability to identify affected properties, because of the Privacy Act.

"Apart from the obligations under the law, this is not the time to incriminate other farmers who may be in a stressful state.

"MPI is doing what it is obligated to do, and that is to acknowledge the privacy rights of those farmers who have bovis identified in their herds. It’s not a question of secrecy - it’s about protecting individual farmers and their businesses from unwelcome and unhelpful publicity."

A fourth public meeting to discuss the situation and the surveillance programme is planned for next week with a venue and time to be confirmed.

Farmers should stay vigilant and report immediately to their vet any signs in their cattle of mastitis that doesn’t respond to treatment, pneumonia, arthritis and late-term abortions.

"We all need to stay together if we are to tackle this nasty cattle disease. That way, we have a chance to eliminate it.

"The industry as a whole is working with MPI and farmers themselves can do their bit, by practising best farm biosecurity measures through good hygiene and cleaning equipment and making sure you maintain separation between neighbouring herds," says Guy.

ENDS


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