Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced that a delegation of 10 veterinarians, farming leaders and MPI staff will take part in foot and mouth disease (FMD) training in Asia next year to experience working with the disease first hand.
“While the major focus is always on preventing FMD, it is also very important that we are prepared to respond to such an outbreak quickly and effectively if it ever did happen.
“The training will develop a larger pool of people in New Zealand with experience in recognising, diagnosing and controlling the disease.
“This is the latest initiative in a major 18-month programme of work, which involves the Ministry for Primary Industries and an industry working group working together on key projects,” the Minister says.
Other projects under the preparedness programme include:
- A map of resources for an FMD response and inventory of personnel
- Pre-agreed notification process for stakeholders
- Carcase disposal plans
- A vaccination workshop held last month with industry
- Trade pre-agreements
- Identification of recovery needs
- A Trans-Tasman Action Plan which was announced in May this year.
These are in addition to other recent initiatives such as Exercise Taurus last year which dealt with a simulated outbreak, and a desktop simulation held with industry at MPI’s Wallaceville campus in June this year.
“The agricultural sector is the powerhouse of New Zealand’s economy and any outbreak would have a major impact. This is why biosecurity is my number one priority as Minister, and why the Government and industry are working closely together on this issue,” says Guy.