Department on TB letters: ‘It does not require farmers to do anything’

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has issued a statement on the TB Herd History Risk Statement letters which were sent to farmers last week.

In the statement, the department says: “The TB herd history risk statement sets out to provide information to farmers about their own herds. It does not require farmers to do anything.

“It is advice which they can choose to take if they wish to reduce the risk of their herd to TB,” the statement added.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine bases its policy and advice on the science – there is a large body of independent, robust scientific research on how TB infects cattle, which must continue to be the basis of disease policy and advice.

“It is by acknowledging the science of how TB spreads between cattle that will help us eradicate this disease.

“The Department of Agriculture has, for many years, been informing farmers of their risk statuses in TB testing letters.

“These new risk categorisations replaced older categorisations which were complex and were primarily used internally to manage the programme.

The new way of categorising herds was the method favoured by stakeholders in the TB Forum – it is based on the herd categorisation model used in New Zealand and it is this specific system which was recommended by the TB Forum in its report.

“The advice provided to individual farmers is intended to enable them to reduce their TB risk, and is similar to advice provided generally through a range of mechanisms over the past two years with the added value of information about the farmer’s own herd,” the department’s statement concluded.