New field staff for Mycoplasma bovis eradication


New Zealand on Monday (May 28) ordered the culling of 126,000 cattle in an attempt to eradicate the painful Mycoplasma bovis disease, which causes udder infections, pneumonia and arthritis.

Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, said in a statement, "This is a tough call - no one ever wants to see mass culls".

The slaughter represents only a fraction of New Zealand stock, a herd of 10 million cattle in more than 20,000 dairy and beef farms.

Farming is a major part of New Zealand's economy and the country is the world's largest exporter of dairy.

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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.

Officials say they plan to kill all cows on any farms where the bacteria are found, even if some of the animals are healthy.

"This is a tough time, and the pain and anguish [affected farmers] are going to go through is really disgusting", said Katie Milne, the organisation's president.

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.

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No country has managed to eradicate Mycoplasma bovis so far.

Federated Farmers, an advocacy organisation, said there were some farmers who opposed the cull but authorities needed to try to address the bacteria before it was too late.

Authorities are still trying to determine if the strain arrived through imported live cattle, frozen semen, embryos, veterinary medicines and biological products, feed, used farm equipment, or other imported live animals. It has 6.6m dairy cows.

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.

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Officials say they expect to know by the end of the year whether the eradication plan is working.