New Zealand plans to slaughter 100,000 cows to eliminate Mycoplasma

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

The bacterium known as Mycoplasma Bovis causes pneumonia and arthritis in cattle, as well as udder infection and miscarriages, although it does not affect humans or pose a food safety hazard. Even if cows appear to be healthy, officials will "kill all cows on any farms where the bacteria are found".

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has confirmed the government will eradicate the disease, and it's anticipated 126,000 cows will need to be culled in addition to those being culled at the moment.

"Standing back and allowing the disease to spread would simply create more anxiety for all farmers", she said.

The disease, which is common in many countries, was first detected in New Zealand at a farm in the South Island last July and some 37 properties have now tested positive for the illness.

More than 150,000 cows will be slaughtered over the next two years at a cost of NZ$880m (£459m), as the world's biggest dairy exporter attempts to deal with an outbreak of Mycoplasma disease.

Lowcountry weather as Subtropical Storm Alberto makes landfall
If we see a bit over an inch of rain before the end of the month, we will crack into the top ten of wettest months ever. Risky surf and rip current conditions were also likely to occur.

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.

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

The government will meet 68% of the cost, while farmers and the cattle industry will pay the rest, the New Zealand Herald reports. They support farmers with information and advice on the practical aspects of the controls.

Bloomberg reported that officials expect to know by the end of the year whether or not the mission to eradicate Mycoplasma bovis is working.

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. The cost of the eradication program is estimated at 886 million New Zealand dollars ($616 million) over ten years. The dairy herd of the country reportedly has around 6.6 million cows. "The majority of animals that we do cull in New Zealand are all healthy", said Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor.

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