New Zealand to cull 20,000 cattle hit by disease outbreak
New Zealand's Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has said that all cattle on properties infected with the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis will be culled, and will be working with farmers to do that from today.
Nearly 30 farms in the world’s biggest dairy exporter have tested positive for the disease since it was first detected in South Canterbury on the country’s South Island in July. It's understood that some 20,000 cattle will be culled.
Mycoplasma bovis is common in many countries and 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.
"The depopulation of entire herds on all 28 Infected Properties (IPs) in New Zealand is a critical measure to control the spread of the disease and we will be working closely with those farmers to plan how this will happen," says MPI's response director Geoff Gwyn.
"This will be a big job and won't happen overnight, but we'll be meeting with the affected farmers in the coming days to discuss the operation, develop the plans and talk through compensation."
All IP farmers will be compensated for their verifiable losses. MPI continues to build its compensation team to make sure farmers are compensated as quickly as possible. Once farms are de-populated and cleaned, these farmers can start re-building a disease-free herd from scratch.
The Ministry said in December that the disease had spread for the first time to a property on the North Island.
Under the stepped-up program, which will start in February, three separate milk samples will be tested from every dairy farm in the country, the Ministry said in a statement on its website.