No Bull - The Importance Of Free TB Testing

NEW ZEALAND - The Animal Health Board (AHB) is reminding farmers to ensure service bulls are tested for bovine tuberculosis (TB) before they arrive on the farm. The AHB provides a TB test at no cost to the farmer for all bulls aged over 12 months that are entering the dairy industry.
calendar icon 1 September 2010
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Commercial service bull leasers Kay and Roger Wolfe, of Puketaha near Hamilton, are among those applauding the AHB-funded TB testing scheme.

“We test every bull on arrival that has not been tested over the past 12 months. That amounts to almost 1000 bulls a year, which indicates how important the free testing scheme is to our business in order to reassure clients that our bulls are TB-free,” Mrs Wolfe said.

The Wolfes understand dairy farmers must have an assurance that the bulls they bring onto their farm are disease-free. TB testing is just one of several tests conducted by the couple before the bulls are delivered.

AHB Northern North Island Regional Co-ordinator Frank Pavitt said the risk of service bulls introducing TB has grown as the dairy industry has expanded. “That’s because animals are increasingly being sourced from high TB risk areas,” Mr Pavitt said.

“In many dairy herd situations, service bulls are the only livestock introduced to the property and, therefore, pose a real risk to a herd’s TB infection status in the absence of infected wildlife,” Mr Pavitt said.

He urges dairy herd owners who purchase or lease service bulls to make absolutely sure the animals have been tested. “They should also receive each animal’s TB status information on an Animal Status Declaration (ASD) form prior to accepting delivery and check they are correctly identified with the official AHB ear tags.

“The rule of thumb should be for all dairy herd owners to put pressure on bull suppliers to take advantage of the free testing service. They shouldn’t think twice about making sure TB tests are completed before delivery,” Mr Pavitt said.

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