M. bovis eradication plan reaches significant milestone

// Animal Welfare

Four years into a world-first attempt to eradicate Mycoplasma bovis (M. bovis), just one infected property remains in New Zealand.

Sam McIvor at milk lab for testing

This is very encouraging, but further detections of infected herds may occur as we progress to the end of the tail of this outbreak, first detected in July 2017.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) marked the milestone alongside DairyNZ, the Ministry for Primary Industries, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor at the national bulk milk testing lab in Waikato yesterday (Thursday).

The M. bovis programme partners, including the Ministry for Primary Industries, are now working on a transition of the M. bovis eradication programme to an agency under a National Pest Management Plan (NPMP) as the response moves into long-term surveillance and proof of disease eradication.

Following consultation with farmers in October, the programme will provide the Government with a proposal for consideration.

A NPMP is a regulatory tool under the Biosecurity Act 1993. It provides rules, powers and other management tools to manage a large-scale long-term eradication programme. A NPMP is designed to provide for the coordinated management or eradication of pests and disease. It will set out how M. bovis is to be managed and by which agency.

There are currently three in operation: National Bovine Tuberculosis (cattle), American Foulbrood (bees), and Psa-V (Kiwifruit).

B+LNZ is committed to ensuring the pest management programme works for farmers. As such, farmers should see little difference apart from continuous improvement as the response applies ongoing learnings.

Farmers will remain at the centre of our work because without farmers we can’t get to the point of proven absence of the disease. We will also maintain close governance oversight of the programme in the transition to an agency.

There is now one active confirmed property compared to 54 at the same time in 2019. A total of 271 confirmed properties have been cleared and nearly 176, 325 cattle culled. More than $220 million has been paid in compensation for 2,741 claims.