New Zealand to spend $600 million to eradicate cattle disease

Agriculture and Biosecurity Minister Damien O'Connor speaks with Southland Rural Support Trust chairman John Kennedy

New Zealand to cull more than 100,000 cows to eradicate Mycoplasma disease

New Zealanders are split over whether the taxpayer should pay $592 million toward cleaning up cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis. They are not considered a threat to food safety, but do cause production losses.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she believes it's still possible to eradicate Mycoplasma bovis.

The alternative plan, long term management of the disease, was estimated to cost $1.2 billion.

The Mycoplasma bovis was reported in New Zealand for the first time in July, 2017. New Zealand exports milk in a large scale.

Accordingly, about 150,000 cows, bulls, and calves will be killed in a desperate measure to keep under control and ultimately eradicate the spread of Mycoplasma Bovis in the country.

Officials will kill all cows on any farm where the bacteria is found, even if the cows are healthy.

"This is a tough time, and the pain and anguish they're going to go through is really disgusting", she said of the affected farmers. Many cows will be be used for beef, however many will end up dumped into landfills.

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Katie Milne, the national president of the advocacy group Federated Farmers, insisted that authorities would try to make sure affected farmers had all the support they needed, including adequate compensation. "And we have to support them as neighbors, community members, farmers, friends".

A Newshub-Reid Research poll has found New Zealanders are split nearly 50/50 over whether it's right for the taxpayer to stump up the cost of eradicating the disease.

Mycoplasma bovis can cause such ailments as mastitis, pneumonia, and arthritis.

The full cost of eradication over 10 years is projected to be $886 million. The dairy herd of the country reportedly has around 6.6 million cows.

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.

It is unclear whether she made any mention of the 150,000 cows set to die as part of the eradication attempt.

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