New Zealand to kill 150000 cows to end bacterial disease

A restricted place notice on the roadside of a Mycoplasma bovis infected farm

"We do believe we are taking it on at a point that it is possible to eradicate, and more than 99 per cent of farms don't have it, and we want to protect them from having it", she said.

Mycoplasma bovis was first detected in New Zealand in July previous year, and manifests in mastitis in cows, severe pneumonia, ear infections and other symptoms.

The bacteria, Mycoplasma bovis, can cause cows to develop ailments such as mastitis, pneumonia, and arthritis.

Officials will kill all cows on any farm where the bacteria is found, even if the cows are healthy. 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.

According to reports, the officials in New Zealand have the right to kill the cows and enter any farm if they doubt that the farm might be affected.

Arden herself said she empathizes with the farmers who will have to undergo having all their cows slaughtered, but the government and cattle industry are in agreement that the long-term consequences of letting the disease spread far outweighs any incurred losses with the eradication plan.

Katie Milne, the national president of the advocacy group Federated Farmers, insisted that authorities would try to make sure affected farmers had all the support they needed, including adequate compensation.

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"No one ever wants to see mass culls". They support farmers with information and advice on the practical aspects of the controls. It has 6.6m dairy cows.

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

New Zealand police have launched a combined investigation with the Ministry of Primary Industries into how the disease made its way to New Zealand, and leapt between the two islands.

About 24,000 cows have already been killed in recent months and at least 128,000 more will have to be culled, most over the next year or two.

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

The fight against Mycoplasma bovis is escalating with 50 more staff, a new field headquarters and the appointment of a science adviser, says Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor.

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