Friday, 01 March 2024 12:55

M. bovis - we need to be vigilant

Written by  Staff Reporters
Prime Minister Christopher Luxon meeting Lucy the inflatable cow at Southern Field Days. Prime Minister Christopher Luxon meeting Lucy the inflatable cow at Southern Field Days.

From November 1, 2023, Ministry for Primary Industries’ Mycoplasma bovis Eradication Programme has been contracted out to disease management agency OSPRI, as it enters a long-term surveillance phase.

The change marks the transition of the whole programme to a management agency, with the goal of eradicating M. bovis in New Zealand by 2028.

OSPRI took the opportunity to reinforce how well the programme had dealt with the issue, given that most other countries believed the task was impossible, but also reminding farmers of the need to be vigilant.

NAIT was designed to provide fast and accurate tracing of animals (deer and cattle) to support disease management in NZ, provided farmers “bought into” recording and supplying movement data in a timely manner.

Louisa Sahin, regional partner extension services for OSPRI, says the best way for farmers to help shut the gate on diseases like M.bovis is to keep accurate information about themselves, their farm and their herd via the NAIT system.

Noting that disease can spread rapidly through any locality, OSPRI highlighted the need to record and report animal movement onto or off farms within 48 hours of any such actions.

Sahin notes that she had heard reports of some stock owners being reluctant to tag animals, maybe because of losing tags accidentally. Rather, they preferred to tag animals as they left a property, likely to result in mistakes at the last minute. Helping visitors to Southern Field Days recently to have a little fun with this serious message, a roaming inflatable cow called Lucy was seen to be posing for the obligatory selfie with young and old, and even Prime Minister Christopher Luxon.

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