Over 32,000 NZ cattle culled to date in effort to eradicate contagious disease

Over 32,000 head of cattle have been culled to date in New Zealand in an effort to eradicate the Mycoplasma bovis disease.

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.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) confirmed that most of the eradication work would be carried out in one or two years.

Continuing, the MPI noted that the decision to order the widespread cull was taken in order to protect the national herd of dairy and beef cattle and to give farmers certainty.

The disease was first detected in July of last year.

Mycoplasma bovis can reportedly cause a range of “quite serious conditions” in cattle, including: mastitis that doesn’t respond to treatment; pneumonia; arthritis; and late-term abortions.

Assurances have been given that the disease does not infect humans and presents no food safety risk. Rather, Mycoplasma bovis has been classified as more of an animal welfare and productivity issue.

Latest update

As of Tuesday, August 7, a total of 32,561 animals have been culled from 30 different infected farms.

The disease has been detected on over 60 farms in New Zealand. As it stands, there are 37 active infected properties; these are made up of 16 dairy farms, 18 beef farms along with three other farms.

Active infected properties have yet to be depopulated, cleaned and have their restrictions lifted, the MPI explained.

Some 173 properties that were previously under legal movement controls have tested negative and have subsequently been released from controls.

Meanwhile, compensation is available for any farmers who have verifiable losses as a result of directions they are given by the MPI under the Biosecurity Act to manage Mycoplasma bovis.

To date, a total of 248 compensation claims have been received by the MPI; of the claims received, 85 have been completed or partly paid.

The value of the claims assessed equates to $23.4 million (€13.6 million), while the value of the claims paid out equals $15.5 million (€9 million), the MPI confirmed.