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Mass slaughter of cows planned in New Zealand to eradicate bacteria


steven36

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand plans to slaughter about 150,000 cows as it tries to eradicate a strain of disease-causing bacteria from the national herd.

 

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Politicians and industry leaders announced the ambitious plan Monday. They say it will cost hundreds of millions of dollars, and, if successful, would be the first time an infected country has eliminated Mycoplasma bovis.

 

Farming is vital to the economy in New Zealand, whose isolation has helped protect it from some diseases that affect herds elsewhere.

 

Last July, Mycoplasma bovis was found in the country for the first time. Found in Europe and the U.S., the bacteria can cause cows to develop mastitis, pneumonia, arthritis and other diseases. They are not considered a threat to food safety, but do cause production losses.

 

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

 

Officials have the legal authority to forcibly enter farms and kill animals even in cases where a farmer might resist.

 

 

Katie Milne, the national president of the advocacy group Federated Farmers, said it was important to try to get rid of Mycoplasma bovis while there was still a chance. She said they would try to make sure affected farmers had all the support they needed, including adequate compensation.

 

“This is a tough time, and the pain and anguish they’re going to go through is really hideous,” she said of the farmers.

 

New Zealand is home to some 10 million cows, about double its human population. About two-thirds are dairy cows and the rest beef cattle. Milk products represent the country’s largest single export, and much of it is sold to China and used in infant formula.

 

Mycoplasma bovis has so far been found on 38 farms throughout New Zealand, officials say, a number they expect to rise to at least 142 farms based on computer modeling. Officials are still trying to figure out how the bacteria got into the country despite strict biosecurity controls.

 

The cost of the eradication program is estimated at 886 million New Zealand dollars ($616 million) over ten years.

 

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The large number of animals, and the amount they have in investments, this was not the year of New Zealand, not only goes to affect the cows if not other animals. They will be investigating if another type of edible animal and went through them. What a pity.

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