Minister wants Mycoplasma farms named

Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor has asked officials to review the policy of not naming the farms where cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis is detected.

Since the disease was first confirmed on a Van Leeuwen Dairy Group farm in the Waimate district in July, 12 properties have found to be infected.

This week, it was confirmed the disease had been found on properties in the Winton and Hastings areas.

''Previous advice is that privacy law prevents us from naming those farms, but I think it could be a useful tool so other farmers can put up their hands and say 'I bought stock from that property'. It could help the tracking and tracing process,'' Mr O'Connor said in a statement.

He called together industry leaders yesterday to emphasise the need for ''absolute adherence'' to animal movement requirements. Farmers keeping accurate records of stock movements was a vital part of halting the spread of the disease, he said.

He had been getting daily updates after the latest detections and he wanted to reassure farmers that the Ministry for Primary Industries was working hard to trace and track animals linked to those properties.

Nearly 55,000 tests had been conducted on animals to date, and about 3500 cattle had already been culled.

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