Wednesday, 17 October, 2018

New Zealand Orders Mass Cattle Cull To Eradicate Disease

Farmers listen intently to an MPI presentation JOHN BISSET STUFF Farmers listen intently to an MPI presentation
Johnnie Parks | 30 May, 2018, 18:19

The infection causes several diseases in the cows that can spread quickly.

Politicians and industry leaders announced the ambitious plan on Monday.

"For me personally, the only "silver lining" of this biosecurity response is that the whole farming sector has worked together so well", Katie says.

The slaughter represents only a fraction of New Zealand stock, a herd of 10 million cattle in more than 20,000 dairy and beef farms. Found in Europe and the US, the bacteria can cause cows to develop mastitis, pneumonia, arthritis and other diseases. The bacteria is not a threat to humans, but can cause production delays on farms.

However, many healthy cattle will also be killed in the cull.

Authorities are still trying to determine if the strain arrived through imported live cattle, frozen semen, embryos, veterinary medicines and biological products, feed, used farm equipment, or other imported live animals.

The government said it would bear around two-thirds of the cost, while farmers and the cattle industry will pay the rest.

"This is a tough call - no one ever wants to see mass culls", she said. "And we have to support them as neighbors, community members, farmers, friends".

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But the Government hopes the early discovery in New Zealand gives them a chance of eradicating it here. It has 6.6m dairy cows. New Zealand exports milk in a large scale.

Mycoplasma bovis has so far been found on 38 farms throughout New Zealand, officials say, a number they expect to rise to at least 142 farms based on computer modeling. A further 126,000 animals, at 192 properties, will be added to the cull, at a cost of NZ$886 million (€526 million, $615 million).

New Zealand police have launched a combined investigation with the Ministry of Primary Industries into how the disease made its way to New Zealand, and leapt between the two islands.

The bodies of cows killed are set to be sold as meat, buried, or dumped in landfills.

The fight against Mycoplasma bovis is escalating with 50 more staff, a new field headquarters and the appointment of a science adviser, says Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor.

Ardern said total eradication of the disease was possible as it was not yet widespread and had presented in only one strain.

Officials say they expect to know by the end of the year whether the eradication plan is working.

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