Thursday, 21 March, 2019

New Zealand to kill 150000 cows to end bacterial disease

Agriculture and Biosecurity Minister Damien O'Connor speaks with Southland Rural Support Trust chairman John Kennedy New Zealand to cull more than 100,000 cows to eradicate Mycoplasma disease
Jeannette Daniel | 28 May, 2018, 22:09

The governments has released its plan to contain and eradicate mycoplasma bovis cow disease.

The disease, which causes serious health issues for cows but no issues for humans, was first discovered on an Oamaru farm previous year and is present in most other countries.

In this May 21, 2017 photo, cows rest in a paddock on a farm near Invercargill, New Zealand.

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) - New Zealand plans to slaughter about 150,000 cows as it tries to eradicate a strain of disease-causing bacteria from the national herd. We have a real chance of eradication to protect our more than 20,000 dairy and beef farms, but only if we act now.

"This is a tough call - no one ever wants to see mass culls".

Mycoplasma bovis can lead to conditions such as udder infection, pneumonia and arthritis in affected cattle, but does not pose a food safety risk or any risk to humans.

More news: Aston Villa 0 - Fulham 1: Tom Cairney fires Cottagers into Premier League

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.

24,000 animals have already been killed in the launch of a mass-scale slaughter which will cost the country an estimated $886 million NZD - and won't necessarily spare healthy animals.

"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.

New Zealand's dairy sector contributes about NZ$7.8 billion annually to the country's gross domestic product and accounts for around a fifth of the country's exports.

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

About 126,000 cows are expected to be culled, mainly over the next two years, as government and industry work to depopulate all infected farms, the government said in a statement.

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