New Zealand will slaughter more than 100,000 cows in an effort to eradicate a bacterial disease.
A cow is seen near the fence of a pastoral farm near Auckland August 6, 2013.
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.
The slaughter represents only a fraction of New Zealand stock, a herd of 10 million cattle in more than 20,000 dairy and beef farms.
Announcing the largest cull in the nation's history yesterday, Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern said that while she sympathised with farmers, the government had "one shot" at eliminating the disease.
The bacterium causes illness in cattle, including udder infections, abortion, pneumonia and arthritis. According to The Guardian, New Zealand produces three percent of all the world's milk, the majority of which is sent to China. Picture taken March 12, 2013. They are not considered a threat to food safety, but do cause production losses.
Farmer Chris Ford says he was very disappointed in the Government's decision. The plan is expected to cost $886mil over 10 years. Until July New Zealand was one of only two major OECD dairying countries that were free of the disease. Since it was first detected, the disease has spread to 37 farms, and computer modeling suggests it will eventually reach some 142 farms.
Bloomberg reported that officials expect to know by the end of the year whether or not the mission to eradicate Mycoplasma bovis is working. "And we have to support them as neighbors, community members, farmers, friends". They say all the infections found so far can be traced back to a single farm, and that the bacteria likely arrived in New Zealand 18 months before they were first identified.
The authorities plan to implement most of the plan over the next two years, with 68% of the cost being borne by the New Zealand government and 32% by DairyNZ and Beef&Lamb New Zealand.
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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