New Zealand has announced plans to slaughter about 150,000 cows while trying to eliminate a number of disease-causing bacteria from the national herd.
Politicians and industry leaders yesterday announced the ambitious plan to post approximately $ 886 million ($ A616) in ten years for the elimination of Mycoplasma bovis.
If successful, it would be the first time that an infected country eliminates the disease Industrial workers have expressed concern about the mental health of farmers whose cattle are infected.
Farming is crucial to the economy in New Zealand, as its isolation has helped protect it from diseases affecting other herds.
Last July, Mycoplasma Bovis was first found in the country. The bacteria found in Europe and the US can cause cows to develop mastitis, pneumonia, arthritis and other diseases.
The disease exists in Australia, but will affect only 1
They are not considered a threat to food safety, but cause production losses.
Officials say they plan to kill all cows on any farms where the bacteria are found, even if some of the animals are healthy.
They say that many of the cows are slaughtered in processing plants and used for beef, but some cows have to be killed and buried on farms or dumped on approved landfills. Officials have the legal power to forcefully invade farms and kill animals, even in cases where a farmer could oppose.
Workers in the rural sector have expressed concern about the well-being of farmers owners of infected livestock, according to Radio NZ.
A man talking to the station said he was worried about the mental health of people with these herds.
"What about the emotional damage it does to the people who run the cattle," he said.
"That's immeasurable – there's no monetary value to pay for it – it's misleading people."
"If they come out with the next lot of suicidal numbers in 12 months and find they have escalated, I wonder if anyone will have enough sense to say that we have caused any of this. "
Katie Milne, the national president of the advocacy group Federated Farmers, said it was important to try Mycoplasma bovis get rid of as long as there is still a chance. She said they would try to ensure that the farmers concerned received all the support they needed, including adequate compensation.
"This is a difficult time, and the pain and fear that they are going through is really horrible," she told the farmers concerned. "And we have to support them as neighbors, parishioners, peasants, friends."
New Zealand is home to about 10 million cows, about twice as many people. About two-thirds are dairy cows and the remainder cattle. Dairy products represent the country's largest single export, and much of it is sold to China and used in baby food.
Mycoplasma bovis has so far been found on 38 farms across New Zealand, a figure they expect to raise at least 142 farms based on computer models
They say that all the infections found so far are due to a single farm that the bacteria probably arrived in New Zealand 18 months before their first discovery. The officials are still trying to figure out how the bacteria came into the country despite strict biosafety controls. Approximately 24,000 cows have been killed in recent months and at least 128,000 more are to be killed, most in the next year or two. The cost of the eradication program is estimated at NZR 886 million ($ A616 million) in ten years. The government plans to take over two thirds of the tab, while farmers and livestock will pay the rest.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she believes that it is still possible to eradicate Mycoplasma bovis.
"We do not know in the long term what impact this could have in common on an industry that is very important to the New Zealand economy," she said. "So if we have the chance to be the country that is eradicating this disease, then we will take it."
Officials say they know by the end of the year if the repayment plan works.
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