New Zealand Begins Mass Cull to Eradicate Cow Disease

New Zealand Begins Mass Cull to Eradicate Cow Disease

The bacterium known as Mycoplasma Bovis causes pneumonia and arthritis in cattle, as well as udder infection and miscarriages, although it does not affect humans or pose a food safety hazard.

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.

"If we don't take this one chance, the disease will spread and the risk of it eventually affecting many of our herds is high", Poel wrote in a statement for DairyNZ.

Mycoplasma bovis was first detected in New Zealand in July previous year, and manifests in mastitis in cows, severe pneumonia, ear infections and other symptoms.

New Zealand is the world's largest exporter of dairy products, and produces 3% of the world's milk.

A Canterbury farmer says he wants someone from the Government to come out and talk to him as he prepares to lose another 900 cows in the Mycoplasma bovis cull.

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Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor admitted that most of the cows to be culled are healthy. 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".

A Newshub-Reid Research poll has found New Zealanders are split nearly 50/50 over whether it's right for the taxpayer to stump up the cost of eradicating the disease. They support farmers with information and advice on the practical aspects of the controls. It has been found on about 40 farms so far, but 192 farms are likely to be involved in the culling. Many cows will be be used for beef, however many will end up dumped into landfills. The dairy herd of the country reportedly has around 6.6 million cows.

The eradication of Mycoplasma bovis will not be an easy one, but is possible because it's not widespread and there's only one strain of the disease out there.

"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.

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