TB eradication plan on track
Thirty-seven ‘vector control zones’ representing more than 441,000 hectares were declared TB free in the year to June 30.
A vector control zone is an area where operations have been successfully carried out. A zone is declared TB free only after a process that includes analysis of the operation and TB testing data, a submission to an external panel, and endorsement by the OSPRI board.
OSPRI CE Steve Stuart says the 2011 TB Plan set a target of clearing 2.5 million hectares by 2026 and the recent stats meant that target had already been surpassed, with 2.73 million hectares cleared. That left 7,000,000 hectares remaining to be cleared up until 2040.
“It’s a great achievement that we are in front of those targets, but we are not getting too far ahead of ourselves. We are really focused on continuing our push to achieve our goal of TB freedom in all cattle and deer herds by 2026.
“There are some challenges ahead including some tricky land access issues to be resolved that we know it will take a collective effort and potentially different ways of thinking and working. With our progress in what we call ‘buffer’ areas – operations around a known area of TB infection to protect farms - our focus is moving to tackle infection ‘source’ areas.
“Leaving these areas uncontrolled poses risks if we are going to achieve TB freedom. These areas may require control for a number of years and that is why we have a real focus on building long-term partnerships with all landowners, so we have the best chance of doing that.”