[9 April/The Country]

Agriculture and Biosecurity Minister, Damien O’Connor announced an initiative in March to track cattle movements across the Cook Strait to prevent the spread of Mycoplasma bovis. Mr O’Connor said the previous government’s failure to enforce the National Animal Identification and Tracing Scheme promoted poor farming practices and compromised the response to the outbreak. Only 57 percent of farmers who recorded animal movements were doing so within the required 48 hours according to a report. He noted that overall farm-to-farm recording may be as low as 30 percent. Mycoplasma bovis is spread through movement of infected cattle from farm to farm so traceability is important. He added that eradication was the goal, and Nait compliance was imperative for this to occur. The programme was likely to be extended to other parts of the country.