Prosser: Possums don't spread TB

  • 29/10/2015
NZ First MP Richard Prosser (File)
NZ First MP Richard Prosser (File)

An MP says he has figures which disprove the perception that possums and wild pigs are responsible for spreading bovine tuberculosis.

NZ First's Richard Prosser says more than 124,000 possums were autopsied over the last 10 years and only 54 had bovine TB - a rate of 0.04 per cent.

And over the last eight years, only 18 wild pigs tested positive out of a total of more than 7700 examined - less than one quarter of one per cent.

"Wild pigs are no more responsible for spreading bovine TB than possums," Mr Prosser said.

"These numbers, supplied in response to questions to the Ministry for Primary Industries, are unequivocal and turn long-held perceptions about bovine TB on their heads."

Mr Prosser says there's been a 40 percent reduction in the number of infected cattle since movement control was introduced in 2012.

"Coupled with the wild animal figures that we have from the government's records, this strongly suggests that effective movement control has been the real answer to TB in cattle all along," he said.

"The single biggest reservoir and vector for bovine tuberculosis is cattle. It always has been cattle."