[25 May/Rural Life]

The New Zealand Veterinary Association expressed concern over the use of distance veterinary services in light of news the farm at the centre of the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak was using a vet clinic 1,600km away. Vets on Waiheke Manager, Stephen Gilmore, confirmed they were the vets responsible for the Zeestraten herd. NZVA President, Peter Blaikie, said the association could not comment on the situation, but regular and real vet presence on farm was the greatest biosecurity protection for early detection. Typical practice was for farmers to use veterinary practices that were based in their regions. Mr Blaikie added that appropriate authorisation of medicines and advice on biosecurity required to safeguard New Zealand agriculture also required a veterinary presence past the farm gate. The Ministry for Primary Industries announced it had simultaneously executed search warrants at three locations as part of the Mycoplasma bovis investigation. There was growing speculation the disease was introduced through illegally imported livestock drugs.