Cat­tle dis­ease in Waikato

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Prime Min­is­ter Jacinda Ardern is blam­ing the pre­vi­ous Na­tional gov­ern­ment’s ‘‘shame­ful’’ un­der­in­vest­ment in biose­cu­rity for My­coplasma bo­vis spread­ing to Waikato.

The Min­istry for Pri­mary in­dus­tries con­firmed a Cam­bridge farm had tested pos­i­tive for the cat­tle dis­ease on May 14, lift­ing the to­tal num­ber of farms with the dis­ease to 39 na­tion­wide.

Ardern said New Zealand’s an­i­mal trace­abil­ity scheme Na­tional An­i­mal Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and Trac­ing (Nait), which was de­signed to record the move­ment of cat­tle and deer, had ‘‘failed abysmally’’.

Farm­ing was such a sig­nif­i­cant sec­tor in New Zealand and stronger biose­cu­rity protection should al­ready be in place.

Ardern said the Gov­ern­ment had not given up erad­i­cat­ing the dis­ease.

It is the first time a farm in Waikato had tested pos­i­tive for the dis­ease. The in­fected farm was iden­ti­fied through the trac­ing of cat­tle move­ments from other in­fected prop­er­ties.O¯

Biose­cu­rity New Zealand’s di­rec­tor of re­sponse Ge­off Gwyn, said it was not a huge sur­prise, given the num­ber of farms the or­gan­i­sa­tion was un­cov­er­ing that have re­ceived cows and calves from af­fected farms.

‘‘This re­sponse is serv­ing to un­der­line just how much move­ment takes place and it is this, cou­pled with poor record keep­ing through Nait that is mak­ing our job very chal­leng­ing.’’

Fed­er­ated Farm­ers dairy chair­man Chris Lewis urged farm­ers to take care and com­mu­ni­cate with their trans­port op­er­a­tors or gra­ziers when mov­ing cat­tle to pre­vent the dis­ease from spread­ing.

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