MPI, biosecurity and animal welfare need a positive revamp in function. Accountability would be a positive bonus as well..
Over the years is appears that the focus of MPI has been fundamentally shifted from both biosecurity and animal welfare to be more involved with facilitating trade in primary products and in food safety.
Back when MAF (MPI) still had a surveillance function the variuos disease incursions (plants and animals) of the past few years would have likely been stopped at a much earlier point.
The animal welfare function of MPI is presently a joke. They are totally understaffed for the functions they are purported to be responsible for.
Why the contribution is important
Because poor biosecurity has the potential to bankrupt this country the whole system needs a positive overhaul. Relying upon the private sector for maintaining disease surveillance is false economy. Prior to 1984 and the onset of neo-liberal economics (aka Rogernomics) this country had a disease surveillance regimen second to none. Now disease surveillance is minimal and not readily undertaken because of the costs incurred by private individuals.
People in both the farming and the veterinary industry are of the view that it is not a case of 'if', but a case of 'when' the Foot and Mouth virus breaches our shores. The scaling back of biosecurity at ports of entry to this country is issue. This appears to be a purely economic decision and not based on good science. The reduction of passenger screening which has been occurring is worrying, No Biosecurity on early morning flights at Auckland Airport is just on example.. I personally have travelled overseas on a number of occasions; in each case I was on farms and horse studs. My declaration card made this patently obvious, but have repeatedly been waved through the green lane with no checks on even foot wear until I insisted that my shoes and boots be taken for sanitising. (I had cleaned them best as I could but they were not sufficiently sanitised from my personal and professional perspective.)
Bonamia went from the Marlborough Sounds to Stewart Island because of lack of biosecurity and MPI choosing to not implement the advice of the of their expert panel. Transparency around that debacle would be interesting.
There are insufficient animal welfare officers to cover the country. It is patently wrong to be depending upon charities to fulfil the animal welfare functions that should be the responsibility of central government. MPI needs to grow some chops and prosecute recidivist animal neglectors, hoarders and abusers. 'Education' just dose not cut the mustard with these sectors of society.
Animal abuse needs to come under the Crimes Act. That way prosecutions are not forced to be the responsibility of underfunded charities.
MPI Aninal Disaster Response planning is sadly understaffed and under resourced. What happened in the recent Edgecumbe floods made that obvious to all involved.
This discussion is probably not what you are really looking for; but it is an issue which deeply concerns me. Thank you for your time.
by connemaranz on October 16, 2018 at 07:49PM