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Combined reports show progress in managing bovine TB

02 November 2011

Combined reports show progress in managing bovine TB

The Animal Health Board's (AHB) combined 2010/11 Annual Report and Annual Research Report reflects a year of significant progress for the organisation.

The 2010/11 Annual Report highlights the benefits and achievements of New Zealand's bovine tuberculosis (TB) control programme. It also shows the ongoing progress made in keeping infected herd numbers low and outlines the revised focus on eradicating the disease.

The Annual Research Report details the development and implementation of new methods and processes that aim to make the TBfree New Zealand programme more cost-effective and innovative. A particularly strong focus during this period has been on identifying the risks and benefits that the AHB's vector control programme poses to non-target species and the natural environment. Work in this area includes the development and analysis of current and potential methods of control.

"It gives me great pleasure to report on what has been an exceptional year for protecting the country from bovine tuberculosis (TB)," said Mr McCook.

The drop in infected herd numbers to around 80 in 2010/11 is the lowest recorded total since the TB control programme was conceived.

Other milestones for the year include the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry's approval of the revised National Pest Management Strategy and central government's decision to continue providing funding support for the management of bovine TB.

"This support gives the AHB a mandate to continue to control and eventually eradicate the disease from some parts of New Zealand," said Mr McCook.

"The eradication of TB, and demonstrating how this will be achieved in extensive bush areas, is a major feature of the revised strategy."

The strategy aims to eradicate the disease from wildlife across 2.5 million hectares, or one quarter, of the area known to be inhabited by TB-infected wildlife over the next 15 years. Removing TB from wild animal populations will eventually lead to a reduction in the risk to cattle and deer herds, and less TB testing.

"Our focus will remain on delivering an effective programme of possum control, TB testing and livestock movement restrictions," said Mr McCook.

"The support and commitment of farmers played a significant role in the success of the TB control programme over the past year."

The AHB formed a proactive relationship with New Zealand Young Farmers in 2010/11 that included becoming the main sponsor of its annual conference.

"The development of an ongoing partnership with New Zealand Young Farmers is one opportunity to inform the next generation of herdowners about their TB testing requirements and the disease risks around movement and wildlife-related infection," said Mr McCook.

Both reports are available on the AHB website www.ahb.org.nz

• Download Animal Health Board Annual Report 2010/11

• Download Animal Health Board Annual Research Report 2010/11

ENDS

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