NAIT compliance vital

Farmers who don’t keep accurate NAIT records put others at risk and can hinder efforts to eradicate Mycoplasma bovis.

That’s the claim of M. bovis programme director Simon Andrew.

Currently, there are six active confirmed properties with M. bovis infection and a Controlled Area Notice (CAN) in place for the Wakanui area in Mid-Canterbury.

Andrew says most of the infected properties will be cleared by early next year and M. bovis eradication remained ontrack.

But he adds that it’s vital all farmers used NAIT properly.

“In our tracing work, we have identified some poor NAIT practices, which is disappointing,” he explains. “Good NAIT records allow us to track any infection quickly, whereas poor records slow us down and heighten the risk that other farmers’ cattle are exposed to M. bovis.”

Andrew says things have come a long way thanks to the hard work of farmers and the wider farming community.

“However, as we approach the end of another year, it’s timely to encourage farmers to do the right thing.”

Andrew says incomplete NAIT records had resulted in farms being placed under movement controls, which may not have been the case if animals were properly accounted for under the NAIT system.

“Farmers should be aware that, where necessary, the M. bovis Eradication Programme will refer those with poor NAIT records to MPI’s compliance team for investigation.”

MPI’s national manager of animal welfare and NAIT compliance, Gray Harrison, says NAIT use had improved, but more work was needed. “When a person in charge of animals fails their NAIT obligations, they potentially put the whole sector at risk,” he claims. “There has been improvement with registering animals after they have been tagged, but I’m concerned there appears to be a belief that this obligation starts and finishes with the person who has animals born on farm.”

He says farmers who have NAIT animals on their property, that were not born there, must ensure they are tagged, registered, and have had their movement recorded into the NAIT system.

“Not doing this could make you liable for an infringement or court prosecution if those animals remain unregistered and/or not recorded in a movement,” Gray adds.

“We’ve had some serious cases before the court this year involving hundreds of unregistered animals, resulting in thousands of dollars in fines. The consequences might seem severe, but they’re a drop in the ocean compared to what it would cost to this country if this disease – M. bovis or something similar – gained a foothold in New Zealand.”

Harrison adds that anyone unsure about their NAIT obligations should reach out.

“There is plenty of support and information available through our partners at OSPRI.”

NAIT Rules

- NAIT animals born on farm must be tagged by the time the animal is 180 days old or before first movement off farm – whichever comes first.

- NAIT animals must be registered within 7 days of tagging, or before their first movement off farm – whichever comes first.

- The Ministry for Primary Industries is responsible for ensuring compliance with the NAIT Act, while OSPRI runs the NAIT system.

- Penalties in the NAIT Act, increased the maximum penalty tenfold to $100,000 in late 2019.

Comments (0)
No login
Login or register to post your comment