New Zealand Orders Mass Cattle Cull To Eradicate Disease

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

The bacterium causes illness in cattle, including udder infections, abortion, pneumonia and arthritis. Many cows will be be used for beef, however many will end up dumped into landfills. She said they would try to make sure affected farmers had all the support they needed, including adequate compensation.

"This is a tough call - no one ever wants to see mass culls", she said.

"And we have to support them as neighbors, community members, farmers, friends".

An internal investigation has been initiated by the cops of the country with the Ministry of Primary Industries in order to find out as to how the cow disease emerged into New Zealand and spread such far affecting both the islands. The dairy herd of the country reportedly has around 6.6 million cows.

These are indeed large figures but they should be placed against the $8 billion economic contribution of the dairy industry, $2 billion from the beef industry, the country's reputation as a food producer and, perhaps most importantly, animal and farmer welfare.

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.

Authorities are investigating how the bacteria arrived in New Zealand despite its strict biosecurity controls.

Since the identification of the disease, near about twenty-six cows have already been slaughtered.

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.

1 NEWS visited a Canterbury farmer hugely affected by the cattle cull, announced by the government yesterday.

"Today's decision to eradicate is driven by the government's desire to protect the national herd from the disease and protect the base of our economy - the farming sector", Ardern said in a statement.

"The majority of animals that we do cull in New Zealand are all healthy".

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