Programme overview

The TBfree programme aims to eradicate bovine TB from New Zealand by 2055, with key milestones of TB eradication from cattle and deer by 2026 and from possums by 2040. We have shown eradication is possible, and for the sake of our biggest export industry, we can create a TB-free future.

Achieving eradication targets

Livestock disease management approaches towards the achievement of the plan objectives are based on:

  • Surveillance for TB in cattle and deer through routine application of approved diagnostic tests and inspection of carcasses at slaughter premises
  • Controls on the movement of cattle and deer from individual herds or geographic areas of higher TB risk, to prevent transmission of TB from herd to herd via livestock movement
  • Application of test and slaughter plans to eradicate within-herd infection
  • Wildlife vector control, principally of possums, and in some cases ferrets, to prevent wildlife-vectored infection of herds

Wildlife pest management operations required to meet the TB plan objectives involve:

  • Intensive possum control within and around designated Vector Risk Areas (VRAs) where it is considered that TB is being maintained in possum populations
  • Surveillance to determine presence/ absence of TB in possums or other wildlife
  • Application of a Proof of Freedom (POF) framework in which data is compiled from possum control history, possum population density measures, wildlife disease surveillance and history of wildlife-vectored infection in livestock, which is then analysed to provide a statistical estimate of the probability that the possum population is free of TB
  • The use of POF determinations to guide decisions as to the continuation and intensity of further vector control or surveillance, including decisions to cease active management.

Progress toward achievement of the milestone of TB freedom in livestock will be monitored through annual targets for reduction in the number of TB infected herds, based on stated assumptions. Progress toward achievement of the milestone of TB freedom in possums will be monitored through annual targets for reduction in the national extent of VRAs, based on stated assumptions.

Delivering the TB plan

Investment associated with the TBfree programme is directly channelled into four major areas of service delivery as follows:

Disease management

Key activities include livestock TB disease surveillance through slaughter premise post mortem monitoring and TB testing. There is also provision of diagnostic services for cattle and deer herds, case management of herds diagnosed with TB infection, and monitoring and controlling the livestock movement to prevent disease transmission through movement of potentially infected livestock. There is also analysis and reporting of results and, where necessary, slaughter of livestock with compensation payable to the owner.

Pest management

Eradication of TB in wildlife is delivered through an intensive, targeted possum control programme, wildlife surveillance, field operations and monitoring, post-mortem analysis and diagnostics, and industry and community engagement and liaison.

Research, Development & Extension

Fundamental and applied research is carried out to support the control and eradication of TB in wildlife and livestock, animal health and disease analysis, testing methodologies and diagnostics, with related activities to provide a scientific basis for programme design.

Corporate and Contact Centre support

OSPRI utilises a range of mechanisms to ensure that farmers, stakeholders and other affected parties are well informed about the TBfree programme, activities and operations.

Find out more in our TB Plan factsheet