Tuesday, July 3, 2018


It is being reported that M. bovis may have been present in the country as far back as 2008.     A recent article by Professor Keith Woodford suggests it will be difficult to eradicate the disease as it may have been in the country much longer than originally thought.

Professor Woodford, an honorary professor of Agri-food systems at Lincoln University, said he has evidence - but not proof - that M. bovis has been here for the last decade.  

He points to the situation back in 2008 when some animals in the South Island were moved to another part of the South Island and developed huge mastitis problems with numbers having to be culled.   They also had severe lameness issues.     The surviving animals were then sent to a third location in the South Island.  

The Ministry of Primary industries believe they have identified the Zeestraten farms as 'ground zero' for the outbreak and are not looking back past 2015.    Woodford does not believe the Zeestraten farms to be the source and has called on MPI to widen their investigation.

Woodford went on to say that if the disease has been present in the country since 2008 then it's a case of 'good news - bad news'.      Good news because it means farmers have been managing the disease  in the same way as farmers o'seas manage the disease.   The bad news is that eradication (which the government has committed to at a cost of several hundreds of millions of dollars) may not be feasible.

Methinks MPI has a duty of responsibility to investigate Woodford's claim further as a matter of urgency.    If he is right then there has to be a rethink on whether to press ahead with the attempted eradication programme.



Gerald said...

Some farmer sometime in the past committed an act that allowed the introduction into New Zealand

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Gerald, it's a pity you didn't actually read the extract.

It is obvious no farmer committed an act which allowed the introduction of the disease. If, in fact, the disease was introduced by way of contaminated semen then the fault lies with the overseas vendor of the semen.

Note the reference to antibiotics used in the semen storage process.

paul scott said...

This brings up the philosophical and economic question of >> living with or refusing to accept << that nature is continuously evolving and that pests and noxious arrivals are part of that pattern. The last Government developed the pretty sound bite > NZ predator-free by 2050 < a ludicrous fantasy.
To his credit, the otherwise demeaned Richard Prosser pointed out the absurdity of this.
Ethnic cleansing in Nature is usually a fantasy.
I know there is deep pessimism in the South Island.
I think it will be similar to the TB eradication program.
Long and costly whatever the outcome.