Health Care

New Zealand to slaughter 150,000 cows in record cull

New Zealand to slaughter 150,000 cows in record cull

"Standing back and allowing the disease to spread would simply create more anxiety for all farmers", she said.

Last July, Mycoplasma bovis was found in the country for the first time. The bacteria is not harmful to humans and does not pose a threat to food safety. "We do believe we are taking it on at a point that it is possible to eradicate and more than 99% of farms don't have it and we want to protect them from having it".

Officials have the legal authority to forcibly enter farms and kill animals even in cases where a farmer might resist, but they said they hope they don't have to use those powers. She said they would try to make sure affected farmers had all the support they needed, including adequate compensation.

"This is a tough time, and the pain and anguish [affected farmers] are going to go through is really ugly", said Katie Milne, the organisation's president. They support farmers with information and advice on the practical aspects of the controls.

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New Zealand is now home to around 10 million cows, two-thirds of which are dairy cows.

Eradication has meant the culling of thousands of cows, especially in the dairy industry.

Farming is a major part of New Zealand's economy and the country is the world's largest exporter of dairy.

Already, 26,000 cattle have been destroyed in the 10 months since the disease was first recorded in New Zealand.

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The full cost of phased eradication over 10 years is projected to be $886 million, with $16 million of that being a loss of production and $870 being the cost of the response. The government plans to pick up about two-thirds of the tab while farmers and the cattle industry will pay the rest.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is announcing the government's decision at Federated Farmers' headquarters in Wellington.

"The majority of animals that we do cull in New Zealand are all healthy", said Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor.

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