New Zealand Plans To Kill 150,000 Cows To Protect Economy

Cesar Mills
May 31, 2018

The government is announcing its decision about whether to eradicate or contain the cattle disease, Mycoplasma bovis.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is announcing the government's decision at Federated Farmers' headquarters in Wellington.

24,000 animals have already been killed in the launch of a mass-scale slaughter which will cost the country an estimated $886 million NZD - and won't necessarily spare healthy animals.

The disease has been found on 38 farms in New Zealand so far, and it's because of it's relatively low numbers, affecting less than one percent of dairy farms, that eradication is highly possible according to DairyNZ Chairman Jim van der Poel.

"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. Accordingly, about 150,000 cows, bulls, and calves will be killed in a desperate measure to keep under control and ultimately eradicate the spread of Mycoplasma Bovis in the country.

It does not pose a food safety risk or humans but does cause significant production losses.

"The decision to eradicate the disease is driven by the government's desire to protect national livestock from the disease and protect the basis of the economy, the livestock sector", said Jacinda Ardern.

This means about 126,000 cattle from about 190 farms will need to be culled - most in one to two years.

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Ashburton dairy farmer John Jefferson, who farms 560 cows in the hot zone where numerous 37 infected properties are located, was "a little surprised" and thought the decision-makers could be in for disappointment.

The country, which produces 3 percent of the world's milk and has 6.6 million dairy cows, will embark on the biggest cull in its history, to become the first country in the world to try to eradicate the cow disease.

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

We're calling on rural communities to support each other, especially affected farmers and those that appear to be finding it hard.

"We all agree that while there remains a chance to get rid of this disease, we should take it".

- An improved compensation claim process. This was projected at $1.2 billion.

Ms Ardern said they had the option of phased eradication, long term management or doing nothing. That figure is comprised of $16 million in lost production and $870 million as the cost of response.

Other reports by GizPress

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