New Zealand’s TBfree programme is demonstrating progress with the reduction of testing requirements for cattle and deer herds in a few areas of the North Island from 1 March 2018.
The TBfree programme manages cattle and deer TB testing through Disease Control Areas (DCAs) throughout New Zealand that focus on areas of varying risk of livestock TB infection from the main wildlife vector of disease, possums.
DCA changes show the progress of TB control towards the ultimate eradication of bovine tuberculosis from New Zealand’s cattle and deer herds. So far OSPRI’s TBfree programme has eradicated TB from 1.83 million hectares – with 7.9m hectares of Vector Risk Area left to be eradicated.
Each year, DCA boundaries and the TB testing regime within them are assessed and adjusted according to progress in the TBfree programme.
From 1 March, reductions to DCAs affect 317,000 hectares and 1029 herds, resulting in more than 31,000 fewer TB tests for cattle and deer herds.
The changes are relatively small after the large reductions in 2017, when 2.3 million hectares and 7400 herds were affected. Michelle Edge, Chief Executive of OSPRI, which manages the TBfree programme, says that as TB management in each area proves successful, disease control areas are reviewed based on detailed scientific analysis and data modelling. Accordingly, where TB eradication targets have been met, testing requirements are reduced.
“The progress of the TBfree programme is a credit to farmers, the industry and Government organisations that invest in the TBfree programme and in the ultimate goal of making New Zealand TB-free.”