Government announces "phased eradication" of M. bovis by Thomas Coughlan

Posted May 30, 2018

"There has been little worldwide investment in science around this disease so the group will look into testing developments to detect Mycoplasma bovis in individual cows, grow understanding of the disease and identify opportunities to support the New Zealand eradication operation".

Despite initially being contained to farms in the South Island, the disease has continued to spread and reached the North Island earlier this year.

The government has said that it is taking the step to eradicate the danger of the infection spreading to farms of New Zealand.

"This is a tough call - no one ever wants to see mass culls". Milk products represent the country's largest single export, and much of it is sold to China and used in infant formula.

After Mycoplasma bovis was first discovered in New Zealand last July, the government and dairy industry had to act.

The plan is set to cost $886 million, and will take place over the next ten years.

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The Mycoplasma bovis outbreak was the "rainy day" the government was planning for, Ardern said.

The bodies of cows killed are set to be sold as meat, buried, or dumped in landfills.

Katie Milne, the national president of the advocacy group Federated Farmers, insisted that authorities would try to make sure affected farmers had all the support they needed, including adequate compensation. "This is a necessary, unfortunate part of not having a test that clearly identifies the individual animals yet".

Together with farming leaders, the government has agreed to attempt the eradication of Mycoplasma bovis to protect the national herd and the long-term productivity of the farming sector.

An investigation launched by the country's Ministry of Primary Industries to determine how the bacteria wound up in the country is still ongoing.

Officials say they should know by the end of the year whether the eradication plan is working.

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