New Zealand farmer hit by outbreak not charged

It had been reported that a New Zealand farmer who was one of those hit with an outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis was allegedly facing charges relating to the disease.

However, it has since been made clear by Ministry of Primary Industries officials that the individual concerned is not facing charges relating to the outbreak.

The farmer is reportedly facing a separate (unrelated) charge, but this apparently relates only to a matter concerning the import of farm equipment into the country, according to local publication Stuff. It should be noted that even this has been strongly refuted by the man in question. The farmer has said that he is innocent and will fight any such allegations.

The farmer, Alfons Zeestraten, has also stressed – in no uncertain terms – that any alleged offence is in no way related to the outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis.

Outbreak

Mycoplasma bovis was originally found in the country on a farm belonging to the Van Leeuwen Dairy Group back in July 2017; it was later discovered on a number of other holdings.

According to Biosecurity New Zealand, the number of infected properties on the islands currently stands at 35.

Earlier this month Biosecurity New Zealand found a property (a mixed sheep and beef farm) in the Tasman district as ‘positive’ for the bacterial cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis. It’s the first time the disease has been found in this region.

That farm was placed under a Restricted Place Notice under the Biosecurity Act 1993, putting the property in quarantine lock-down – restricting the movement of animals and other ‘risk goods’ on and off the farm.

Towards the end of last May, it was revealed that a planned cull of about 126,000 cattle would take place as part of the eradication effort – though, with the latest outbreak, this figure is likely to be higher.

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