New plan to tackle bovine TB officially launched

Date 13 July 2016

Primary industry leaders came together last night in Wellington to officially launch the new plan for managing bovine TB in New Zealand.

OSPRI chairman Jeff Grant says ‘we are embarking on this next stage of eradication thanks to the efforts of farmers, industry and Government organisations that are shareholders and investors in the TBfree programme.

New Zealand has a long history of bovine TB infection in cattle and deer and has actively managed the disease since the 1950s. After initial successes following the discovery of the link between livestock infection and possums as the carrier host through to the 1970s, there was a decision to reduce funding levels which led to a resurgence of infection in the 1980s and 1990s. In response to this there were renewed efforts and increased funding for pest control from Government and industry, laying the foundations for today’s TBfree programme.

Having a nationally coordinated plan driven by those affected has led to significant TB control progress resulting in a dramatic decline in the number of infected herds from a high of 1700 in 1994, through 695 in 2000, and now 43 at the end of June this year.

The key objectives of the plan which came into effect on 1 July are the biological eradication of TB from New Zealand by 2055, with TB freedom (i.e. high confidence the disease is gone) in livestock by 2026 and possums by 2040.

OSPRI Chief Executive Michelle Edge explains that two important changes to the new plan will see the introduction of a more targeted approach to TB testing and pest control.

Given the scope of these changes it is important to understand that the new plan will be phased in according to the design shaped by our field based research, and according to the new approach to livestock testing and wildlife control.

Ms Edge says ‘We are currently working with our key stakeholders and industry representatives to finalise the details of how these policies will work in practice and the timings involved.’

For more details please refer to the factsheet – The new plan to tackle TB.

Media contact
Oliver Bates
Acting Corporate Communications Manager
0277 054995

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