New Zealand orders culling of 1.26 lakh cows

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New Zealand orders culling of 1.26 lakh cows

Though the bacteria poses no threats to food safety, it does cause production losses, as infected cows tend to develop mastitis, severe pneumonia, arthritis and respiratory issues.

In an effort to eradicate the cow disease Mycoplasma bovis, New Zealand will cull more than 100,00 cows from its national herd.

About 126,000 cows are expected to be culled, mainly over the next two years, as government and industry work to depopulate all infected farms, the government said in a statement.

"This is a tough call - no one ever wants to see mass culls", she said. The country will spend 886 million New Zealand dollars (Rs 4,150 crore) over two years on the effort to eradicate the disease.

Since the identification of the disease, near about twenty-six cows have already been slaughtered. "We have a real chance of eradication to protect our more than 20,000 dairy and beef farms, but only if we act now".

Last July, Mycoplasma bovis was found in the country for the first time.

Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor said it was believed the outbreak came from one source and that expert advice indicated it was possible to contain and eradicate it.

The bodies of cows killed are set to be sold as meat, buried, or dumped in landfills. "This is a necessary, unfortunate part of not having a test that clearly identifies the individual animals yet".

An investigation into how Mycoplasma bovis got into the country is still underway.

Farming is vital to the economy in New Zealand, whose isolation has helped protect it from some diseases which affect herds elsewhere.

In Ashburton, some farmers are anxious that eradicating Mycoplasma bovis will disproportionately hurt their herds through culling. The country is the world's largest exporter of milk and dairy products. Norway is now the only one. It will only be clear by the end of year if the culling of the cows is working.

Each evening at 1830 UTC, DW's editors send out a selection of the day's hard news and quality feature journalism.

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