Vice-president Andrew Hoggard, a dairy farmer, said the risk analysis showed the cost of cancelling the day when thousands of dairy cattle and farming families move to new pastures and homes would have been much higher than the danger of spreading the disease.
“It would have absolutely and utterly screwed up farming business. With the added precautions around people recording their movements, we will be able to trace those movements.”
June 1 is the first day of the new season for the $14 billion dairy sector.
The Government’s decision not to cancel the annual movement day has been questioned given the current mass cattle kill response to the M. bovis outbreak, and because tracking movements will depend on the National Animal Identification and Tracing scheme (NAIT), a system which has been shown by the outbreak to be flawed.
The industry, including farmers, lifestyle block owners and farming support services are said to have failed to record cattle movements in the system because its design has made the job onerous.
This failure has contributed to officials’ difficulties in tracing potentially infected cattle.
The Government this month announced work had started to improve NAIT.
An MPI spokesperson said if farmers followed sensible precautions any risk could be greatly minimised.
“Preventing animals from moving would likely result in very challenging animal welfare problems for many herds prevented from moving, through lack of feed and degradation of pasture over winter.
“All farms that are infected or high risk are under movement controls so will not be moving stock.
“Farmers should have confidence in dealing with farms that are not under regulatory controls, so long as they are carrying out good biosecurity measures including NAIT compliance, understanding herd health history, and using good on-farm biosecurity measures.”
By: Andrea Fox
Source: NZ Herald