New Zealand Plans To Kill 150,000 Cows

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A Northland farmer is backing the Government's decision to cull nearly 150,000 cattle, in a "one shot" attempt to eradicate Mycoplasma bovis and protect the national herd.

However, the resulting curb in production could put upward pressure on dairy prices, thereby dulling the impact, Tuffley said.

"I empathise fully with those farmers going through the pain of losing their herds", Jacinda Ardern said today.

The full cost of phased eradication over 10 years was projected at $886 million. There will be some flexibility for farmers in the timing of culling to offset production losses. "Let's take this window while we have it, as we will never have this opportunity again".

"This is a tough call", said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

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"Now we have to crack on and give it our best shot to recover from this threat".

The government will take care of 68% of this cost, while DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb New Zealand will handle the other 32%.

The Government earlier said phased eradication involved ongoing depopulation and included any new infected properties.

New Zealand is now home to around 10 million cows, two-thirds of which are dairy 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.

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As at May 28 there are 37 infected farms and some 260 suspect farms. In particular farmers need to be meticulous with animal movement records and the way they use NAIT. About 300 properties are in biosecurity lockdown and 858 are under surveillance.

DairyNZ said it backed the Government in its efforts to eradicate the cattle disease. It was a courageous decision and the whole of New Zealand will be hoping it pays off. Today we have that certainty. "Over 99 per cent of our dairy herds in New Zealand have no signs of this disease, and we want to keep it that way".

The eradication of Mycoplasma bovis will not be an easy one, but is possible because it's not widespread and there's only one strain of the disease out there. 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. "Everyone down here has been reasonably keen to manage it instead of eradication drive".

In July previous year, Mycoplasma bovis was first detected in New Zealand.

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