Cat­tle dis­ease hits north Wairarapa

Wairarapa News - - FRONT PAGE - PIERS FULLER AND PAUL MITCHELL

In­fec­tious bac­te­rial dis­ease My­coplasma Bo­vis has been dis­cov­ered on a Pahı¯atua sheep and beef farm in Tararua Dis­trict owned by Land­corp.

It is the sec­ond in­fec­tion of a cat­tle herd in the North Is­land af­ter the virus was dis­cov­ered on a farm near Hast­ings in De­cem­ber.

In a state­ment, The Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries said the af­fected farm was con­nected to other in­fected prop­er­ties through an­i­mal move­ments.

Wairarapa MP Alas­tair Scott said MPI had blown its chance to con­tain the dis­ease in the South Is­land and was dis­ap­pointed by the toll it was likely to take on lo­cal farm­ers.

‘‘We’ve had the pea wee­vil out­break in Wairarapa so we’re fa­mil­iar with how to lock down ev­ery­thing and get ev­ery­one on board and work to­gether and make a sacri­fice to make sure the peas don’t get out.

‘‘You’d think the same thing could be re­peated with this virus, but un­for­tu­nately MPI has let it get away on them.’’

In July 2017, the bac­te­rial in­fec­tion My­coplasma bo­vis was found in cat­tle in the Oa­maru area of the South Is­land.

The dif­fi­cult-to-treat dis­ease causes mas­ti­tis, abor­tion, pneu­mo­nia, and arthri­tis in cat­tle, which can carry and spread the dis­ease for long pe­ri­ods.

MPI is now un­der­tak­ing large-scale culling op­er­a­tions aimed at erad­i­cat­ing the virus and de­stroy­ing an es­ti­mated $36.5 mil­lion worth of cat­tle.

MPI di­rec­tor of re­sponse Ge­off Gwyn said the Pahı¯atua farmer con­cerned with this lat­est de­tec­tion had been very co­op­er­a­tive with move­ment con­trols and had not moved any an­i­mals off the prop­erty, ex­cept to slaugh­ter, since even be­fore le­gal re­stric­tions were is­sued.

While this was the sec­ond North Is­land de­tec­tion it should not be con­sid­ered a ma­jor turn­ing point in the re­sponse, Gwyn said

‘‘This is, in fact, just a fur­ther prop­erty un­cov­ered through ro­bust trac­ing ac­tiv­ity. It is likely we will find fur­ther pos­i­tive prop­er­ties as this trac­ing con­tin­ues.

‘‘We have a num­ber of farms in the North and South Is­lands un­der quar­an­tine while we carry out test­ing. The re­al­ity of farm­ing is that large num­bers of cat­tle are rou­tinely moved about the coun­try.’’

The Pahı¯atua farm was owned and run by Land­corp.

Land­corp (Pa¯mu) head of com­mu­ni­ca­tions Si­mon King said the in­fec­tion was found on their Rangedale farm. ‘‘Pa¯mu is work­ing with MPI and lo­cal ve­teri­nary ser­vices and we are cur­rently culling the im­pacted herd.’’

He said they had been in touch with neigh­bour­ing prop­er­ties to ad­vise them of the po­ten­tial that the farm was in­fected last week.

They also held a com­mu­nity meet­ing on Wed­nes­day to up­date neigh­bours and the ac­tions be­ing taken.

As well as the Pahı¯atua prop­erty, MPI also con­firmed two fur­ther pos­i­tive prop­er­ties in South­land.

Gwyn said, de­spite spec­u­la­tion, there had been no pos­i­tive de­tec­tions in Waikato.

The ar­eas spread through­out New Zealand with in­fec­tions in­cluded Can­ter­bury, Hawke’s Bay, Mid-Can­ter­bury, South Can­ter­bury/North Otago, and South­land.

* Af­fected farm­ers can get more in­for­ma­tion on the sup­port avail­able at 0800 RU­RAL HELP.

HEATHER CHALMERS/STUFF

In what is likely to be­come com­mon prac­tice in parts of the North is­land, vis­i­tors pass through a dis­in­fect­ing foot bath in South Can­ter­bury. Alas­tair Scott

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