New Zealand prepares to slaughter 15000 cows in disease cull

The disease has now been traced to the Southland farm of Alfons Zeestraten at least back to December 2015. MPI says

New Zealand to cull more than 100,000 cows to eradicate Mycoplasma disease

The full cost of phased eradication over 10 years was projected at $886 million.

There is a positive in the fact the disease has no trade implications or effect on humans, but it does cast the spectre of what a disaster it would be if foot and mouth or mad cow disease was to slip through New Zealand's biological defences.

Forty-four percent say it's fair, 44.5 percent say it's not fair and 12 percent don't know.

Minister of Biosecurity Damien O'Connor said all indications pointed to it being possible to eradicate Mycoplasma bovis, "experts have said so, and we believe we have to give it a go".

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.

"[There are] 450,000 cows in Ashburton, mid-Canterbury".

FILE PHOTO: Clouds gather above a cow as it grazes in a drought-effected paddock on the outskirts of the New Zealand town of Blenheim, located in the south island's Marlborough district March 12, 2013.

According to the Ministry for Primary Industries, so far some 26,000 cows have been culled and it estimates another 126,000 cattle will need to be slaughtered as phased eradication will involve killing all cattle on all infected properties along with cattle on most restricted properties. "Let's take this window while we have it, as we will never have this opportunity again".

The Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, described as "difficult" the decision to implement this plan, which aims to curb a disease that affects farm animals but which could also be extended to wild animals.

As at May 28 there are 37 infected farms and some 260 suspect farms.

High-risk animal movements have been traced to 3000 farms.

National Party spokesperson for Agriculture Nathan Guy said the decision to eradicate brought "a significant level of certainty to the farmers around the country".

Federated Farmers dairy chairman and Waikato farmer Chris Lewis was slightly stunned by the announcement when approached for comment, despite knowing what it would be as a consulted industry leader.

New Zealand authorities are investigating how the bacteria entered the country, where it was detected for the first time in the New Zealand's history in July 2017.

"Nothing prepares you for seeing the hard details and seeing the scale of it".

"It's not going to be easy and I acknowledge a few farmers won't be very happy at all".

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