Calf days risky due to Mbovis
The Ministry for Primary Industries says they ‘‘don’t want to be party poopers’’, but they’re recommending schools think carefully about holding calf days this year in the wake of the mycoplasma bovis outbreak.
Thirty six farms throughout New Zealand are infected with the disease, which can cause illness in cattle including mastitis, pneumonia, arthritis and lateterm abortions. On May 28 the Government decided to attempt to eradicate the disease by culling stock, which was expected to take up to two years. M.bovis is transmitted from animal to animal through close contact and bodily fluids, so talking calves to a school pet day could spread the disease.
‘‘Right now the disease is not widespread around New Zealand, and we’re throwing everything at getting rid of it. So we believe it’s sensible to avoid any unnecessary risk,’’ the department said on social media on Monday night. Perhaps kids could be encouraged to hold a pet day, or bring other animals than calves to their special school day.’’
If schools do decide to go ahead with calf days, there are some common-sense steps that MPI recommends which will help to minimise any possible risk of infections being transmitted between calves being transported to schools, and to avoid them coming into contact with calves that may have already contracted the disease. MPI says as long as good hygiene and biosecurity procedures are followed, the risk of the disease being spread at events is relatively low, but until tracing is completed it is still a potential risk.