2 Jul 2013

New body gets stuck ito Tb eradication

7:49 pm on 2 July 2013

The new organisation set up to administer bovine Tb control and the livestock identification scheme is up and running.

OSPRI, or Operational Solutions for Primary Industries, was formed through the merger of the Animal Health Board and National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT), and came into being on Monday.

The Animal Health Board has been replaced with a new agency - TBfree New Zealand - it and NAIT will operate as subsidiaries of OSPRI.

Chief executive of OSPRI William McCook says the name and structure may be new, but in practical terms there's been no change to the NAIT scheme or the long-running programme to get rid of Tb in cattle and deer herds.

He says the focus now is to eradicate Tb from the reservoir of infected wild life in New Zealand.

Mr McCook says 10 million hectares of land in New Zealand, about a third has infected wildlife - mainly possums.

He says the aim is to reduce, by 2026, the area with Tb infections by 2.5 million hectares and the projections is the organisation will exceed that target by 500,000 hectares.