18 Jul 2013

Agency on track to meet bovine TB eradication target

2:22 pm on 18 July 2013

The organisation responsible for bovine TB control says it's ahead of its eradication target despite new cattle herd infections in a couple of regions.

The Animal Health Board, which previously administered the tuberculosis programme, has been replaced with a new agency, TBfree New Zealand. It is part of Operational Solutions for Primary Industries (OSPRI) which started operating this month.

OSPRI chief executive William McCook says the TB strategy is now focused on eradicating the disease in possums and other wild animals that can re-infect cattle and deer.

He says the target is to reduce the area of TB infection by two and a half million hectares by 2026, and is on track to achieve more than that despite recent breakouts in cattle herds in Northland and Taranaki.

The latest round of testing by TBfree New Zealand has shown the six infected Taranaki herds have no signs of the disease - the first step towards the farmers having their herds officially declared clear.