11 Jun 2009

Farmers given say on bovine TB control

1:09 pm on 11 June 2009

The Animal Health Board is seeking farmers' views on future directions for bovine tuberculosis control in New Zealand.

The board's national bovine TB strategy is due for a five-year review under the Biosecurity Act.

The board is proposing some changes in control priorities in a discussion paper being mailed to cattle and deer farmers this week.

Chairman John Dalziell says the objective of the current strategy is to reduce the cattle and deer herd infection rate to 0.2% by 2013.

It is currently sitting at about 0.34%, which is well on track to meeting the target.

Mr Dalziell says the existing strategy has achieved a sharp reduction in the number of infected herds.

The Animal Health Board now wants to put more effort into dealing with TB infection in possums and other wildlife that spread the disease.

Mr Dalziell says the board has succeeded in eradicating TB from wildlife in areas such as Banks Peninsula and Kaipara South Head and now proposes to test the feasibility of eradication across larger areas.

It will focus initially on the Rangitoto and Hauhungaroa Ranges in the Central North Island and the Hokonui Hills in Southland.