New Zealand Begins Mass Cull to Eradicate Cow Disease

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The governments has released its plan to contain and eradicate mycoplasma bovis cow disease. Politicians and industry leaders announced the ambitious plan Monday, May 28, 2018.

New Zealand authorities are investigating how the bacteria entered the country, where it was detected for the first time in the New Zealand's history in July 2017. Found in Europe and the USA, the bacteria can cause cows to develop mastitis, pneumonia, arthritis and other diseases.

Although Mycoplasma bovis doesn't affect humans, according to DairyNZ, the spread of the disease impacts animal well-being and productivity.

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

Katie Milne, the national president of the advocacy group Federated Farmers, said it was important to try to get rid of Mycoplasma bovis while there was still a chance.

"No one ever wants to see mass culls".

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"And we have to support them as neighbours, community members, farmers, friends".

The government will meet 68% of the cost, while farmers and the cattle industry will pay the rest, the New Zealand Herald reports. The dairy herd of the country reportedly has around 6.6 million cows.

New Zealand is the world's largest exporter of dairy, producing 3% of all the world's milk.

Authorities are investigating how the bacteria arrived in New Zealand despite its strict biosecurity controls.

Since the identification of the disease, near about twenty-six cows have already been slaughtered. The cost of killing the cows is estimated at 886 million New Zealand dollars.

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. "The majority of animals that we do cull in New Zealand are all healthy", said Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor. "Let's take this window while we have it, as we will never have this opportunity again". It will only be clear by the end of year if the culling of the cows is working.

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