Canterbury farmer 'not convinced' by Government's M. bovis plan

Canterbury farmer 'not convinced' by Government's M. bovis plan

Canterbury farmer 'not convinced' by Government's M. bovis plan

The governments has released its plan to contain and eradicate mycoplasma bovis cow disease.

Radio New Zealand reported that after the cows are killed, infected farms will be disinfected and then ordered to lie fallow for 60 days before new livestock can be allowed to return to the grounds.

Mycoplasma bovis can lead to conditions such as udder infection, pneumonia and arthritis in affected cattle, but does not pose a food safety risk or any risk to humans.

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.

"This is a tough time, and the pain and anguish [affected farmers] are going to go through is really disgusting", she said.

Home to some 6.6 million cows, New Zealand is one of the world's largest exporters of dairy products.

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About 26,000 cattle have been killed since the disease was detected and at least a further 128,000 are likely to be killed.

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.

The decision, dubbed "phased eradication", was made collectively by the government and farming sector bodies and the estimated cost is $886 million over 10 years.

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. Some experts fear the decision will come at a huge cost.

"We will work with MPI and industry groups to make sure the system to support farmers is robust and delivers well into the future", Katie says. "This is a necessary, unfortunate part of not having a test that clearly identifies the individual animals yet". "But the alternative is the spread of the disease across our national herd".

The problem with Mycoplasma bovis is that it's hard to detect and doesn't respond to antibiotics.

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