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23 May 2003
As a precautionary measure, all cattle traced following confirmation of BSE
in a Canadian cow earlier this week will be checked by vets.
Carolyn Hini, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) Acting Director
Animal Biosecurity, said the 14 cattle are located on five North Island
properties and the inspections will take place over the next week.
"Tracing has revealed that a group of 16 cattle was imported into New
Zealand in 1999. Since then two of these have died of natural causes. One was
buried and the other was rendered.
"The remaining cattle will continue to be monitored as part of
regulations in place for imported ruminants, and they pose no risk," she
Monitoring includes mandatory ear tagging system and a national register of
all imported cattle which enables MAF to keep track of cattle movements, owners
details whether the animal has been sold, slaughtered or died of natural causes.
Dr Hini confirmed that MAF will continue to trace any possible Canadian
cattle imports as far back as 1989. This is twice the length of time required
under international standards set by the World Organisation for Animal Health.
New Zealand operates a rigorous programme to ensure the early detection of
BSE should it ever arrive here. This includes ongoing surveillance involving
animals showing signs of nervous disease, abattoir surveys, and monitoring of
imported animals. MAF tests more than 3000 brain samples a year. There is also a
prohibition on the feeding of ruminant protein to ruminants - the way the
disease is spread.
For more information please contact: Carolyn Hini Acting Director Animal
Biosecurity 021 888 623