New Zealand to kill 150000 cows to end bacterial disease

Farmers listen intently to an MPI presentation

In an effort to eradicate the cow disease Mycoplasma bovis, New Zealand will cull more than 100,00 cows from its national herd.

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

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern have made it clear the aim of the slaughter is to protect New Zealand's economy, which reportedly relies heavily on the animals' deaths and exploitation.

"If we don't take this one chance, the disease will spread and the risk of it eventually affecting many of our herds is high", Poel wrote in a statement for DairyNZ.

Last July, Mycoplasma bovis was found in the country for the first time.

New Zealand is known to be the biggest dairy exporter all over the globe and produces near about three percent of the total milk produced in the world.

The government is announcing its decision about whether to eradicate or contain the cattle disease, Mycoplasma bovis.

Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor admitted that most of the cows to be culled are healthy.

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

Katie Milne, president of the advocacy group Federated Farmers, said they would try to ensure that farmers received the financial and emotional support they required.

The government will meet 68% of the cost, while farmers and the cattle industry will pay the rest, the New Zealand Herald reports. "And we have to support them as neighbors, community members, farmers, friends".

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. That's more than two cows per person in the country.

The full cost of eradication over 10 years is projected to be $886 million.

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.

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

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