Take part in TSE surveillance

Incentives are available for vets and farmers who support New Zealand's surveillance programme for transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). Find everything you need to get started.

The TSE surveillance submission form [PDF, 107 KB]

If you have questions, email TSEsurveillance@mpi.govt.nz

How to send samples and collect incentives

Why we need your help

MPI performs TSE surveillance to assure New Zealand's export customers that we're free from TSEs. We test brain samples from cows, sheep, goats and deer that show clinical neurological signs.

Which animals are eligible?

Our surveillance programme complies with the requirements of the World Organisation of Animal Health. In keeping with those requirements, the following animals can be tested in the absence of other obvious causes of disease.


Aged between 30 months and 9 years, with any of the following presentations:

  • Neurological signs that are progressive or do not respond to treatment.
  • Behavioural changes, or abnormalities in stance or gait that have no clear musculoskeletal origin.
  • Metabolic disorders (including downer cattle without obvious injury) that do not respond to treatment.

Sheep and goats

Aged 2 years or older and showing signs of progressive non-responsive nervous disease.


Aged 2 years or older, showing signs of:

  • progressive non-responsive nervous disease or ill-thrift
  • acute or peracute pneumonia, or aspiration pneumonia.

If your animals show these signs and you don’t have access to a vet, call our pest and disease hotline on 0800 80 99 66.

Financial incentives

MPI compensates farmers for the loss of their animals, and vets for their time and labour in taking and submitting brain samples.

Farmer incentives

  • Cattle: $150 plus GST
  • Deer: $100 plus GST
  • Sheep and goats: $50 plus GST

Vet incentives

  • Cattle: $290 plus GST
  • Deer: $160 plus GST
  • Sheep and goats: $140 plus GST

We don't accept more than 2 samples a year from any one farm. If you believe more cases should be investigated, call the pest and disease hotline on 0800 80 99 66. 

Who to contact

If you have questions about information on this page, email TSEsurveillance@mpi.govt.nz

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