New Zealand to cull over 100000 cows to eradicate Mycoplasma

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.

Mycoplasma bovis, bacteria that can cause mastitis, pneumonia, and other diseases in cattle, was first identified in the country in July and has since spread to at least 37 farms.

Although many cows are expected to be killed at processing plants and be used for beef, some may have to be killed and buried on farms or in specified landfills, AP reported.

Officials have the legal authority to forcibly enter farms and kill animals even in cases where a farmer might resist, but they said they hope they don't have to use those powers.

Katie Milne, president of the advocacy group Federated Farmers, said they would try to ensure that farmers received the financial and emotional support they required. They support farmers with information and advice on the practical aspects of the controls.

These are indeed large figures but they should be placed against the $8 billion economic contribution of the dairy industry, $2 billion from the beef industry, the country's reputation as a food producer and, perhaps most importantly, animal and farmer welfare.

Farmer Chris Ford says he was very disappointed in the Government's decision. It has been found on about 40 farms so far, but 192 farms are likely to be involved in the culling.

Already, 26,000 cattle have been destroyed in the 10 months since the disease was first recorded in New Zealand.

The plan is set to cost $886 million, and will take place over the next ten years.

1 NEWS visited a Canterbury farmer hugely affected by the cattle cull, announced by the government yesterday.

Prime minister Jacinda Ardern said: "This is a tough call - no one ever wants to see mass culls".

"We don't know, in the long-term, what impact it could collectively have on an industry that is incredibly important to New Zealand's economy", she said.


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