New field staff for Mycoplasma bovis eradication

New field staff for Mycoplasma bovis eradication

New Zealand officials have announced plans to kill around 150,000 cows in an attempt to eradicate a strain of disease-causing bacteria.

A cow is seen near the fence of a pastoral farm near Auckland August 6, 2013.

The government is announcing its decision about whether to eradicate or contain the cattle disease, Mycoplasma bovis.

The phased eradication, to take place over two years at a cost of NZ$886 million (US$824.93 million), represents only a fraction of New Zealand stock, with some 4.2 million cattle slaughtered annually.

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.

There is a positive in the fact the disease has no trade implications or effect on humans, but it does cast the spectre of what a disaster it would be if foot and mouth or mad cow disease was to slip through New Zealand's biological defences. Picture taken March 12, 2013.


New Zealand is the world's largest exporter of dairy products, and produces 3% of the world's milk.

The government will meet 68% of the cost, while farmers and the cattle industry will pay the rest, the New Zealand Herald reports. She said they would try to make sure affected farmers had all the support they needed, including adequate compensation. Many cows will be be used for beef, however many will end up dumped into landfills. "But the alternative is the spread of the disease across our national herd".

Mycoplasma Bovis is the most pathogenic bovine mycoplasma species in Europe and the United States and causes serious animal health problems such as bovine pneumonia, arthritis, genital abnormalities, and miscarriages.

Many healthy cows will also be killed.

"And we have to support them as neighbours, community members, farmers, friends". It has been found on about 40 farms so far, but 192 farms are likely to be involved in the culling.

The total cost of eradication will be $870 million over 10 years - $278 million will be paid by DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb New Zealand.

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