New Zealand Begins Mass Cull to Eradicate Cow Disease

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New Zealand will slaughter more than 100,000 cows in an effort to eradicate a bacterial disease.

The government and agricultural leaders announced Monday that it will spend over $600 million over the next decade to rid the country of Mycoplasma bovis, which causes udder infections, pneumonia, arthritis and other illnesses. The bacteria is not a threat to humans, but can cause production delays on farms.

“This is a tough call,” said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. “But the alternative is to risk the spread of the disease across our national herd.”

Mycoplasma bovis has been detected on more than three dozen farms since it was first detected in New Zealand last year, leading to the slaughter of about 26,000 cattle. The country is the world’s largest exporter of milk and dairy products.


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