The House of Representatives makes the vaccine for RHDV2 available for ALL pet rabbits.
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We ask that The House of Representatives makes the vaccine for RHDV2 available for ALL pet rabbits. Namely the latest and most researched vaccine that is approved throughout Europe, UK and Canada, Filavie's, Filavac VHD K V&C which is already used by some owners under Special Circumstances approval.
We ask this on the basis that RHDV2 which has spread right across Australia is a grave threat to our pet rabbits has now arrived by natural incursion or by illegal importation by farmers who may have seen RHDV1a-K5 not working as well as they hoped.
The vaccine poses no threat to our Environment as it is sterile but has the added advantage of protecting against both RHDV1 and RHDV2 with none of the side effects seen with the current RHDV1 Cylap Vaccine.
The RHDV1 virus in New Zealand was illegally imported from Australia and although classed as an unwanted organism, is used to control Feral rabbits. The Cylap Vaccine protects vaccinated pet (companion) rabbits from this virus, it is 90% effective and some pet rabbits can die from the vaccine. Recently RHDV1a-K5 was approved and released against opposition from Pet Rabbit Owners.
Inhumane death for both feral and pet (companion) Rabbits.
The death from The Rabbit Haemorrhagic Virus is not painless or peaceful. A rabbit may stay very still when dying from Rabbit Haemorrhagic Virus and appear to be without pain. This is nothing more than its natural instinct to hide illness or injury from prey. Observed symptoms of Rabbit Haemorrhagic Virus vary but include depression, sitting still, loss of appetite, sadness, paralysis, reddened eyes, labored breathing, un- coordination, weight loss, apathy, convulsions, twitching, screaming, squealing, crying, shaking, thrashing about in pain and other nervous system disorders just before they die. Also, dead rabbits usually have blood stains around nasal, mouth, anus, vagina, and that gives further indication of the internal trauma involved. In some cases, no clinical signs are observed.
New Zealand Pet (companion) rabbits face a painful death from three threats from the Rabbit Haemorrhagic Virus.
1) RHDV1 V351 Czech strain - The current endemic virus and 2) RHDV1a-K5 from the more aggressive V1a group. The Cylap vaccine provides 90% protection against RHDV1 which is spread by natural means, hay, flies, formites plus landowners, market gardeners and farmers using infected carcasses or minced innards, in an unregulated, illegal, unmonitored process How much efficacy Cylap provides against RHDV1a-K5 in the real world is as at this time unknown
3) RHDV2. This virus has arrived either naturally or illegally. This strain will become dominant over RHDV1 as has occurred in Europe. This strain kills with no observed signs and unlike RHDV1, kills kits. Vaccines exist but not in Australia or New Zealand.
Rabbit Haemorrhagic RHDV2 poses a real and grave risk to all pet rabbits.
MPI states that RHDV2 poses a low risk and current biosecurity measures will stop the virus arriving. We have repeatedly stated that no measure can stop a virus. Scientific peer reviews agree that this virus is highly resilient, survives freezing cycles, 50c for 1 hour and can survive for 3 to 7.5 months in the environment. It will just take 1 of the 3,200,000 passengers arriving from Australia to New Zealand, to walk on the ground where an infected rabbit has been, to carry the virus, step on any one of the numerous direct flights to transfer the virus to New Zealand. As history shows, the illegal introduction cannot be ruled out either.
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