New Zealand to kill 150,000 cows to end bacterial disease

Rosemary Collier
May 31, 2018

New Zealand has ordered a mass cull of cattle in a bid to eradicate disease-causing bacteria from the national herd.

The government is set to foot 68 percent of the bill, with Dairy NZ and Beef and Lamb NZ set to meet the rest.

Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor said it was believed the outbreak came from one source and that expert advice indicated it was possible to contain and eradicate it. Politicians and industry leaders who announced the ambitious plan say it will cost hundreds of millions of dollars, and, if successful, would be the first time an infected country has eliminated Mycoplasma bovis. Though the bacteria poses no threats to food safety, it does cause production losses, as infected cows tend to develop mastitis, severe pneumonia, arthritis and respiratory issues.

WELLINGTON, New Zealand New Zealand plans to slaughter about 150,000 cows as it tries to eradicate a strain of disease-causing bacteria from the national herd.

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Murray Jagger, and his wife Helen run a 650-dairy cow and 250 dairy/beef enterprise at the Whangarei Heads.

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. 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.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she did not want to end up in a situation where she looked back and said "I could have tried harder".

"We all agree that while there remains a chance to get rid of this disease, we should take it", he said. Both Government and our industry partners want those farmers to know support is there for them.

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MPI said a substantial part of farmers' claim for culled cows should now take four-to-10 days, with a fully verified claim taking two-to-three weeks.

New Zealand, which relies heavily on livestock farming for its export earnings, aims to eradicate the painful Mycoplasma bovis disease completely.

Currently, the disease is classified as "active" on 37 properties in the country. This means more skilled people will be able to work directly with affected farmers.

The alternative option was for long-term management.

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The estimated cost of not acting was $1.3 billion over 10 years. Of this, $698 million is the loss of production borne by farmers and $520 million of response costs.

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