New Zealand to kill 150000 cows to combat disease

New Zealand to kill 150000 cows to combat disease

New Zealand has ordered a mass cull of cattle in a bid to eradicate disease-causing bacteria from the national herd.

Despite initially being contained to farms in the South Island, the disease has continued to spread and reached the North Island earlier this year. That has since dropped to 37 farms, with more than 11,000 cattle slaughtered.

The government and agricultural leaders announced Monday that it will spend over $600 million over the next decade to rid the country of Mycoplasma bovis, which causes udder infections, pneumonia, arthritis and other illnesses.

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.

Eradication has meant the culling of thousands of cows, especially in the dairy industry.

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.

After Mycoplasma bovis was first discovered in New Zealand last July, the government and dairy industry had to act.

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About 24,000 cows have already been killed in recent months and at least 128,000 more will have to be culled, most over the next year or two.

"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.

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.

The decision to cull 126,000 cows from the national herd was not an easy one to make.

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

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.

An investigation into how Mycoplasma bovis got into the country is still underway.

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