New Zealand to kill 150000 cows to end bacterial disease

30 May, 2018, 11:10 | Author: Lillian Steele
  • Farmers listen intently to an MPI presentation

"Newly appointed science adviser Dr John Roche has been tasked with researching new tools for the fight against Mycoplasma bovis".

Mycoplasma bovis has been detected on more than three dozen farms since it was first detected in New Zealand a year ago, leading to the slaughter of about 26,000 cattle.

Found in Europe and the US, the bacteria can cause cows to develop mastitis, pneumonia, arthritis and other diseases.

Although Mycoplasma bovis doesn't affect humans, according to DairyNZ, the spread of the disease impacts animal well-being and productivity.

One of the first farmers to find his herd with Mycoplasma bovis infected says MPI needs to speed up the culling of infected cows. That has since dropped to 37 farms, with more than 11,000 cattle slaughtered.

Federated Farmers, an advocacy organisation, said there were some farmers who opposed the cull but authorities needed to try to address the bacteria before it was too late.

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She pledged government support for these farmers to ensure the long-term success of the country's farming sector.

"This is a tough call - no one ever wants to see mass culls", she said. They support farmers with information and advice on the practical aspects of the controls.

FILE PHOTO: Clouds gather above a cow as it grazes in a drought-effected paddock on the outskirts of the New Zealand town of Blenheim, located in the south island's Marlborough district March 12, 2013. Until July New Zealand was one of only two major OECD dairying countries that were free of the disease.

The government would contribute about NZ$591 million to the eradication program, while the rest would be borne by industry bodies and farmers, Ardern said.

A program to slaughter some 26,000 cattle is already underway.

The decision, dubbed "phased eradication", was made collectively by the government and farming sector bodies and the estimated cost is $886 million over 10 years.

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