New Zealand to kill 150000 cows to combat disease

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

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. 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.

The country is trying to eradicate Mycoplasma bovis, a disease that causes mastitis, pneumonia, and arthritis in cows. The bacteria is not harmful to humans and does not pose a threat to food safety.

Ardern said "we are taking this opportunity because this is our one opportunity. we know that other countries exist with this diseases but we want New Zealand to be free of it and this is our opportunity to be that country".

"This is a tough time, and the pain and anguish [affected farmers] are going to go through is really ugly", said Katie Milne, the organisation's president. About two-thirds are dairy cows and the rest beef cattle.

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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.

Mycoplasma bovis has been detected on more than three dozen farms since it was first detected in New Zealand a year ago, leading to the slaughter of about 26,000 cattle.

The cows will be killed in phases and the first phase will kill around 26,000 cows, process for which is already underway.

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

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

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Katie Milne, the national president of the advocacy group "Federated Farmers", emphasised the support that will be needed for farmers, however, failed to mention the 150,000 cows that will be slaughtered.

Together with farming leaders, the government has agreed to attempt the eradication of Mycoplasma bovis to protect the national herd and the long-term productivity of the farming sector.

The bodies of cows killed are set to be sold as meat, buried, or dumped in landfills.

"This is a necessary, unfortunate part of not having yet a test that clearly identifies the individual animals", he said.

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