New Zealand Plans To Kill 150,000 Cows

Farmers listen intently to an MPI presentation

Mycoplasma Bovis does not affect milk and meat for human consumption, and most governments are content to control outbreaks. "But the alternative is to risk the spread of the disease across our national herd".

The bacteria, Mycoplasma bovis, can cause cows to develop ailments such as mastitis, pneumonia, and arthritis.

It has been made clear by the officials that all the cows belonging to an infected farm will be killed even if they are healthy. They say numerous cows will be slaughtered at processing plants and used for beef, but some cows will have to be killed and buried on the farms or dumped in approved landfills.

Federated Farmers National President Katie Milne said the process represents a "rough time" for the farmers, adding that they "have to support them as neighbours, community members, farmers, friends". She said they would try to make sure affected farmers had all the support they needed, including adequate compensation.

"No one ever wants to see mass culls".

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. The dairy herd of the country reportedly has around 6.6 million cows.

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Farming is a major part of New Zealand's economy and the country is the world's largest exporter of dairy. They say all the infections found so far can be traced back to a single farm, and that the bacteria likely arrived in New Zealand 18 months before they were first identified.

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

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

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern spoke in a press release about the difficulty farmers would face losing their herd and the costs of eradication, which she said could total over NZ$800 million dollars.

The fight against Mycoplasma bovis is escalating with 50 more staff, a new field headquarters and the appointment of a science adviser, says Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor. "Let's take this window while we have it, as we will never have this opportunity again".

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