An Otago deer farm was the only property not to comply with bovine Tb test requirements, Tim Fulton reports.

Anon-complying deer farm near Dunedin is testing OSPRI’s approach to eradicating bovine Tb.

A property at Waitati, near Dunedin, had refused to have the suspect animals tested for the past three years, acting OSPRI chief executive Pim Borren said.

The unnamed property, which had been under herd-control management since early 2016, had been referred to the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI). OSPRI was unable to name the property or share other specific details because of privacy concerns, Borren said.

A source familiar with animal health regulations said it was arguable that OSPRI, as the management agency, has all powers available to enforce that the test is completed, along with legally approved tags applied prior to the test being completed.

The Otago property was the only infected one not complying with bovine Tb testing requirements and other controls, Borren said.

“We only have concerns regarding one of our existing 35 Tb infected herds.”

Borren said generally control of bovine Tb had come a long way from the hundreds of cases nationwide in the 1990s, when eradicating the disease seemed like a pipedream.

One of OSPRI’s priorities on the back of the recent NAIT review was a new joint compliance action plan with MPI, he said.

The plan is made on VADE mode (voluntary, assist, direct, enforce) which for OSPRI meant working with farmers to help them understand and meet their NAIT obligations through education and support “and if necessary then taking compliance steps, alongside the issuance of warning letters”.

It was only at this point that MPI would then carry out inspections or issue infringement notices, Borren said. More than 300 warning letters had been issued to Persons in Charge of Animals (PICAs) regarding non-compliances, assessed from those registered in the NAIT system but who were not completing their requirements. Many of these have been resolved by the PICA with the support of OSPRI’s contact centre.

The joint-compliance partnership with MPI had made good progress over the past few months and most of OSPRI’s business would continue to be eradicating bovine Tb, Borren said.

“My view is that NAIT sits very comfortably alongside what is our main reason for being. We may have had a name change from the old days of the Animal Health Board but at the end of the day that’s still our reason that we exist.”


On the M.bovis response, MPI told Country-Wide late in 2018 that since the disease was discovered in July 2017, 83 farms had tested positive and 51 of these had completed the phased eradication process.

This number was expected to grow before MPI could confirm the country had successfully eradicated the disease, MPI Incident Controller Catherine Duthie said.

Most of the ongoing surveillance and testing of cattle would be completed over the first two years but the eradication response would continue for 8-10 years, she said.

As of December 21 more than 51,000 cattle had been culled. This number includes trace animals and cattle culled as part of the phased eradication response.

MPI is processing a Country-Wide request under the Official Information Act for the number of trace animals on its records and how many it estimated were unaccounted for. Country-Wide was also waiting on the number of known infected herds and figures for how many of these herds were considered NAIT-compliant.

A regular public update from MPI on January 7 said the country had 36 infected properties (of which 27 were in the South Island), 48 under Restricted Place (which includes Infected Properties), 139 under Notice of Direction and 46 with Infected Place controls lifted.

MPI had received 586 compensation claims, of which 369 were completed or part-paid. The value of assessed claims was $44.3m and the value of the claims paid was $39.2m.