New Zealand Begins Mass Cull to Eradicate Cow Disease

New Zealand Begins Mass Cull to Eradicate Cow Disease

"There has been little worldwide investment in science around this disease so the group will look into testing developments to detect Mycoplasma bovis in individual cows, grow understanding of the disease and identify opportunities to support the New Zealand eradication operation". After failing to detect the presence of the disease for two years before it was discovered last year on a South Canterbury farm, it admits its original handling of the issue was not satisfactory. 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.

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.

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.

"This is a tough call - no one ever wants to see mass culls", she said. About two-thirds are dairy cows and the rest beef cattle. New Zealand exports milk in a large scale.

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

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Around 24,000 cows have already been killed in recent months.

The full cost of phased eradication over 10 years is projected to be $886 million, with $16 million of that being a loss of production and $870 being the cost of the response. "But the alternative is the spread of the disease across our national herd.

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.

No country has managed to eradicate Mycoplasma bovis so far.

"This is a necessary, unfortunate part of not having yet a test that clearly identifies the individual animals", he said.

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