Public education initiative looks at NZ war with bovine TB

Press Release – TB Free NZ

A new multimedia education initiative launched by the Animal Health Board (AHB) takes an in-depth look at New Zealand’s history of bovine tuberculosis (TB) through the eyes of the farmers, vets and TB-testers working at the front line of the battle …19 January 2012

New public education initiative looks at NZ’s battle with bovine TB

A new multimedia education initiative launched by the Animal Health Board (AHB) takes an in-depth look at New Zealand’s history of bovine tuberculosis (TB) through the eyes of the farmers, vets and TB-testers working at the front line of the battle to bring the disease under control.

Making TB History is a collection of personal accounts told in words, pictures and a series of short videos. It examines the financial and emotional impact of the disease on rural communities, and acknowledges the extraordinary efforts of organisations and individuals who worked tirelessly to bring New Zealand closer than ever to bringing TB under control. Some 20 farmers, vets and TB testers from around the country were interviewed.

At its peak, in the mid-1990s, bovine TB was a serious threat to New Zealand’s access to premium beef, deer and dairy export markets worth more than $12 billion a year to the economy. Many farming families found themselves close to breaking point and some were forced to leave the industry. Thanks to the AHB’s world-leading TBfree New Zealand programme and the hard work and co-operation of farmers at the front line, infected herd numbers are at an all-time low and the world now looks to New Zealand as the leader in TB control. However, the disease is still a risk to deer and cattle herds in around 40 per cent of New Zealand.

“While the progress we’ve made in the battle against bovine TB is a true Kiwi success story, these personal accounts are a stark reminder that we simply cannot afford to get complacent now,” said AHB chief executive William McCook.

“We came incredibly close to eliminating the disease in the 1970s; then funding was stopped. The TB came back worse than ever, and by the mid-90s we were on the verge of losing some of our biggest export markets. Fortunately, most of us will never experience TB firsthand, but it is something every New Zealander should be aware of, because if it ever comes back as before we will all lose out.”

Copies of the ‘Making TB History’ book and DVD are available to the public free of charge from the Animal Health Board. If you would like to order a copy, please email history@tbfree.org.nz or call 0800 482 4636. Electronic copies of the Making TB History book can be downloaded from the AHB website www.tbfree.org.nz. The videos are also available to view on the Animal Health Board’s YouTube Channel.

For more information visit www.tbfree.org.nz

ENDS

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