Bovine TB is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium bovis. It’s dangerous to both animals and people — it has a major impact on human health in many parts of the world.
In New Zealand, cattle and deer are the species at greatest risk of contracting the disease. Possums are the main wildlife carrier of bovine TB here, and contact with infected possums is a major cause of herd infection.
If we don’t control the spread of TB in livestock:
The goal of the TBfree programme is to control and then eradicate TB, to protect our valuable dairy, beef and deer export industries. The objectives of the programme are to:
We deliver the TBfree programme through a nationally coordinated program that looks for the disease in all domestic herds through:
Possum control requires systematic, large landscape control of NZ's possum population. Over time, this will result in TB being eradicated from the possums.
Each year we aim to reduce:
We have annual targets that help us monitor our progress. We also continue to invest in research, to help us improve how the disease is diagnosed, and the methods we use to control pests.