Sheep farmers are being encouraged to play their part in protecting the industry from exotic diseases by signing up to the new online portal MyOSPRI.
Over 1,000 sheep farmers have already ditched paper-based Animal Status Declarations (ASDs) and are now using MyOSPRI to send both farm-to-farm and farm-to-meat processor electronic Animal Status Declarations (eASDs).
The eASDs provide accurate, reliable and readily accessible data about movements of sheep mobs and where farms and other places animals have been or are located.
Good animal movement records will allow for fast tracking and tracing of a disease, improving the likelihood of eliminating it quickly.
Kevin Forward, Head of Traceability at OSPRI says that the MyOSPRI system will vastly improve the sector’s ability to launch an effective response in the event of a disease outbreak.
“In the unlikely event of an outbreak such as Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD), it’s extremely important to keep tracking and tracing of animals accurately recorded and up to date.
“This is particularly critical for movements of mobs of sheep, which unlike cattle and deer are not covered by the National Animal Identification Tracing programme. The best way to do that is through MyOSPRI.
“Not only will sheep farmers benefit from using MyOSPRI, but we’ll have a better picture of all locations where cattle, deer and sheep move between for a response team to use in the event of a disease outbreak.
“Movements recorded using paper-based ASDs are not kept in a centralised database and would slow our ability to trace a rapidly moving disease such as FMD.”
Paper ASDs will still need to be used for saleyards, he says.
Andrew Morrison, Chairman of Beef + Lamb New Zealand, says that while the risk of Foot and Mouth Disease arriving in New Zealand is still considered to be very low, everyone needs to play their part in helping prevent FMD entering the country and spreading.
“I encourage sheep farmers to sign up to MyOSPRI and use electronic ASDs so the industry can move quickly in the unlikely event of a disease outbreak. I have personally found using the electronic system is much easier and faster. It also gives me confidence that I am doing everything I can to protect my farm, my neighbour and the industry.”
MyOSPRI is OSPRI’s new online customer portal that will, in time, enable farmers to access OSPRI’s integrated animal disease and traceability system. It has replaced the eASD system and in the future will bring together NAIT and disease management information into one system, so farmers can view disease information and manage livestock movements easily online, and in one place.