Farmers urged to have their say on future plans for fighting bovine TB
New Zealand cattle and deer farmers are being urged to get involved in how the fight against bovine TB is carried out, with a review of the Bovine Tuberculosis Pest Management Plan underway.
Since the start of 2000, New Zealand has spent more than $1.2 billion fighting bovine TB and controlling the pests (especially possums) that spread the disease.
Independent Chair of the Plan Governance Group (PGG) Chris Kelly said, “To protect the health of farmed cattle and deer and our good international trade reputation around animal products, it is critical we continue to build on this large investment and maintain the low TB rates we see today.”
“Equally important are the biodiversity gains delivered by pest management work funded through the national TB plan.”
Mr Kelly said that “This year, we need to decide how we continue to deliver this work. To ensure we get it right, I urge dairy, beef and deer farmers and other interested parties to get involved in the review consultation process. We want to hear people’s views on what the future plan should include.”
During June and July, review workshops will be held in around 30 locations throughout New Zealand where proposals can be discussed and feedback noted for later analysis. The consultation process will kick-off towards the end of June 2015 with the release of a public discussion document. Some limited farmer surveys will also be undertaken to help capture the full range of ‘farm-gate’ views. Submissions will close on 31 July 2015.
The discussion document will be seeking feedback on whether the programme to eradicate TB should be faster or slower or kept the same. Views will also be sought on containing the disease at current or lower levels.
Mr Kelly said it is important that farmers get involved in the consultation process.
“Because the programme is a significant cost to farmers we want them to understand the issues. Bovine TB has the potential to drastically impact New Zealand cattle farming and international trade. We need to ensure we remain committed and deal with the issue in the smartest way with the ultimate goal being eradication,” said Mr Kelly.
For more information about the TB plan review, check out www.tbplanreview.nz. This is where information about consultation workshops will be posted (in early June) and where the discussion document and other supporting information will be published (late June).