Tuesday, 21 August, 2018

Mycoplasma Bovis Forced New Zealand Government Decide The Slaughter Of 150,000 Cows

Agriculture and Biosecurity Minister Damien O'Connor speaks with Southland Rural Support Trust chairman John Kennedy New Zealand to cull more than 100,000 cows to eradicate Mycoplasma disease
| 31 May, 2018, 22:15

New Zealand is aiming to be the first country in the world to eradicate Mycoplasma bovis from its shores after the Government yesterday unveiled an $886 million plan to eliminate the disease.

Taking this one chance to eradicate means that we could get rid of this disease from New Zealand.

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

"Speaking with affected farmers in recent weeks, it is obvious that this has taken a toll, but standing back and allowing the disease to spread would simply create more anxiety for all farmers", she added.

In Ashburton, some farmers are anxious that eradicating Mycoplasma bovis will disproportionately hurt their herds through culling. The bacteria is not a threat to humans, but can cause production delays on farms.

Ms Ardern said the decision was made "to protect our national herd and the longterm productivity of our economic decision".

The cull, of about 126,000 cattle in addition to the 26,000 already under way, would take place over one to two years. "Let's take this window while we have it, as we will never have this opportunity again".


"This is a tough call - no one ever wants to see mass culls", she said. New Zealand exports milk in a large scale.

Arden herself said she empathizes with the farmers who will have to undergo having all their cows slaughtered, but the government and cattle industry are in agreement that the long-term consequences of letting the disease spread far outweighs any incurred losses with the eradication plan. Of those, 37 are active infected properties.

"We are here to support those farmers, and have given a commitment that we will, alongside the Ministry and other sector groups, drive down the driveway of every affected farm to give that support", Mr van der Poel says.

Cabinet's decision has the support of Federated Farmers and the NZ Veterinary Association, although the former is well aware of the emotional and psychological effect on farmers.

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.

- An improved compensation claim process.

Ms Ardern said they had the option of phased eradication, long term management or doing nothing. Of this, $698 million is the loss of production borne by farmers and $520 million of response costs.

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