Health Care

New Zealand will slaughter 150,000 cows to end bacterial disease

New Zealand will slaughter 150,000 cows to end bacterial disease

The disease was discovered in July previous year and since then 41 farms have been confirmed as infected. 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. They are not considered a threat to food safety, but do cause production losses on farms.

"No one ever wants to see mass culls". A further 126,000 animals, at 192 properties, will be added to the cull, at a cost of NZ$886 million (€526 million, $615 million). "We have a real chance of eradication to protect our more than 20,000 dairy and beef farms, but only if we act now".

However, Ardern said New Zealand - which relies heavily on livestock farming for its export earnings - would aim to eradicate the disease completely.

Mycoplasma bovis can cause such ailments as mastitis, pneumonia, and arthritis.

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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About 24,000 cows have already been killed in recent months and at least 128,000 more will have to be culled, most over the next year or two. Some experts fear the decision will come at a huge cost.

Federated Farmers, an advocacy organisation, said there were some farmers who opposed the cull but authorities needed to try to address the bacteria before it was too late. "This is a necessary, unfortunate part of not having a test that clearly identifies the individual animals yet". Since it was first detected, the disease has spread to 37 farms, and computer modeling suggests it will eventually reach some 142 farms.

"He will provide strategic science advice across MPI and his first task will be to head up a new Mycoplasma bovis Science Strategic Advisory Group".

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


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