New Zealand to kill 150K cows to end bacterial disease

31 May, 2018, 22:15 | Author: Bertha Harmon
  • The disease has now been traced to the Southland farm of Alfons Zeestraten at least back to December 2015. MPI says

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said despite other countries not being able to eradicate Mycoplasma bovis, factors such as location and timing mean New Zealand is in a different position to combat the cow disease. "I think what we are doing here is having the best shot at eradication" and noted that if the country doesn't try immediately eradication will be off the table.

Together with farming leaders, the government has agreed to attempt the eradication of Mycoplasma bovis to protect the national herd and the long-term productivity of the farming sector.

The ambitious plan will see 126,000 cattle slaughtered on top of the 26,000 already killed or earmarked for death. They say it will cost hundreds of millions of dollars, and, if successful, would be the first time an infected country has eliminated Mycoplasma bovis.

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USA investigators said Mr Najib's associates stole and laundered at least $US4.5 billion ($AU5.97 billion) from the fund. Its president, Prof Dr Mohamed Rehan Karim, said the government's decision is apt given the country's high debt level.

Reports quoted New Zealand police as saying that they had launched a combined investigation with the Ministry of Primary Industries to find out how the disease made its way to New Zealand and leapt between the two islands.

He questioned whether healthy cattle showing up as carrying the bacteria organism were simply developing immunity to the disease, which some in the sector believe has been in New Zealand for years but undiagnosed before last July's outbreak at Waimate. Found in Europe and the US, the bacteria can cause cows to develop mastitis, pneumonia, arthritis and other diseases. Of that, $16 million was loss of production and was borne by farmers and $870 million was the cost of the response, including compensation.

Federated Farmers national president Katie Milne said there was no doubt the decision would cause pain and anguish for more farmers.

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The slaughtered cattle may be used for beef, or buried on farms or in landfill. "The financial and emotional toll on farmers has been significant and the Rural Support Trust has done an outstanding job supporting those in need", he said. Both Government and our industry partners want those farmers to know support is there for them.

New Zealand is now home to around 10 million cows, two-thirds of which are dairy cows. It has 6.6m dairy cows. "Today's move reflects how important the success of the dairy and beef industries is to the prosperity of all New Zealanders", Jacinda Ardern said.

"Our farmers have been waiting for nearly eleven months on a way forward and part of the challenge has been a lack of certainty about the long-term solution for New Zealand". The two-year cull will cost about £460 million.

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On Monday the Government announced it would cull all cattle on infected farms and future infected farms, plus some high-risk farms under movement controls.

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