New Zealand Begins Mass Cull to Eradicate Cow Disease

New Zealand Begins Mass Cull to Eradicate Cow Disease

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

"Standing back and allowing the disease to spread would simply create more anxiety for all farmers", she said.

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

It does not pose a food safety risk or humans but does cause significant production losses.

Officials will kill all cows on any farm where the bacteria is found, even if the cows are healthy. Some of the slaughtered cattle may be used for beef, but others will be buried on farms or in landfill.

"We will work with MPI and industry groups to make sure the system to support farmers is robust and delivers well into the future", Katie says.

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

"This is a tough time, and the pain and anguish they're going to go through is really ugly", she said of the affected farmers.

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The New Zealand government is expected to foot two-thirds of the hefty $560 million tab, while the cattle industry will pay the remainder. New Zealand exports milk in a large scale.

Farmer Chris Ford says he was very disappointed in the Government's decision.

Authorities are investigating how the bacteria arrived in New Zealand despite its strict biosecurity controls.

Since its July discovery, the bacteria was deemed "active" on 37 different properties and 26,000 cows have already been killed, the Guardian reported. The cost of killing the cows is estimated at 886 million New Zealand dollars.

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

The decision was a "tough call" but had to be made because the alternative was the spread of the disease across the country, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

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

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