Herd Control Not 1080 Solution to Bovine TB

Press Release: Farmers Against 1080: The West Coast Regional Council's new experimental strategy on Tb is ill-conceived and a waste of public money says Farmers against Ten Eighty (FATE). Spokesperson Mary Molloy said the suggestion the West Coast Regional council sacrifice an area of 44,000 hectares in the Kumara-Mitchells area in saturation 1080 trials to eradicate bovine Tuberculosis, is proof.

"It's a case once again of the blind stupidity of persisting with a programme that has achieved nothing in over 30 years," she said.

Mrs Molloy cited the Taramakau Settlement herd Tb infection levels which are at some of their highest ever in spite of excellent work done by ground control contractors and some farmers in the area. The area has had high usage of 1080.

She said it was high time farmers demanded more innovative thinking from both the Animal Health Board and the Regional Council and facing the question of what is causing the continued and persistent infection in the area?

"If every living creature in the bush is killed by 1080 or some other means, it will not solve the TB problem," she said. There was a need for rational action such as increasing the frequency of testing, a mandatory verified paper trail of stock movements and the use of blood tests to find the normal skin test failures which may be as high as 15 percent. Other options include trialing the different vaccines now available, trial meaningful compensation for farmers so they can replace stock which may have latent or walled-off infections with clean stock from proven free areas. Above all work with farmers and ground control operators so that there is a secure margin around all farms with problems.

"Remember some farmers remain clear, so protect them."

It is important to encourage farmers to identify young stock that may be more susceptible to Tb than other herd replacements and do not keep any animals whose mothers subsequently fail a Tb test. These will either have walled off infection themselves or be more susceptible to the infection she said.

Mrs Molloy said it is urgent everyone woke up to the fact that TB is a farmer problem and no amount of 1080 will solve that.

" 1080 has yet to cure even one case of TB. The myth that we should kill the last possum and all our TB problems will be solved is just that a naive and farcical myth," she added.