Friday, 10 March 2017 12:32

TB find triggers rigorous testing

Written by 
Marty Deans. Marty Deans.

The identification of bovine TB in cattle and deer herds and wildlife around Mount Cargill, near Dunedin, has led to testing and surveillance changes under the TBfree programme.

TBfree has increased the testing requirements for cattle and deer and designated the locality a movement control area (MCA) to avoid the spread of TB through movements of stock.

As of March 1, all cattle and deer in the wider Mount Cargill area will need a TB test within 60 days before being moved to another property.

The testing changes are part of a wider programme which includes targeted possum control, research and survey operations.

Outram farmer and Otago TBfree Committee member Marty Deans says farming in a movement control area is a good thing as a farmer knows that any animals he sells have been tested and are clear before they leave his property, and “it doesn’t penalise you,” he says.

“Being in a movement control area is one of those things that you just have to get on with.”

Finding out that your cattle or deer herd has TB can be devastating for a farmer. Deans speaks from experience, having twice found TB in his herd.

Deans always stresses that it is important farmers don’t blame themselves or feel ashamed about their herd having TB. When he found out his stock had TB, he had to be proactive and think about ways to change the farming operation and stocking policy.

As a member of the TBfree Committee, Deans had the support of other members when the going got tough.

“There is help out there for farmers, you just have to ask,” he says.

MCAs play an important role in the fight against bovine TB. When asked how farmers can help, Marty said it was essential that farmers complete their TB testing and record any stock movement within the required timeframe.

Confirming the TB status of any animals you bring into the area and onto your property is imperative. If any farmer, no matter how few animals they own, doesn’t know what their testing obligations are, they need to contact OSPRI and get some advice.

“We all have to work together on pest control, testing and stock movement to eradicate TB,” said Deans.

Anyone wanting more information on the MCA changes or new testing requirements can contact OSPRI on 800 482 463 or visit www.tbfree.co.nz for the latest factsheet and operational maps.

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