Minister of Biosecurity Damien O'Connor said all indications pointed to it being possible to eradicate Mycoplasma bovis, "experts have said so, and we believe we have to give it a go". She further added, "Speaking with affected farmers in recent weeks it is obvious that this has taken a toll, but standing back and allowing the disease to spread would simply create more anxiety for all farmers".
New Zealand, which relies heavily on livestock farming for its export earnings, aims to eradicate the painful Mycoplasma bovis disease completely. These include finding the disease is more widespread than our surveillance and modelling anticipates or a property is found that pre-dates the earliest known infection of December 2015.
Cabinet's decision has the support of Federated Farmers and the NZ Veterinary Association, although the former is well aware of the emotional and psychological effect on farmers.
"This is a tough time, and the pain and anguish they're going to go through is really ugly", she said of the affected farmers.
The total cost of eradication will be $870 million over 10 years - $278 million will be paid by DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb New Zealand. "And we have to support them as neighbors, community members, farmers, friends".
"At the same time, we must also focus on the thousands of farmers and millions of dairy cows that have not been affected by M. bovis". In particular farmers need to be meticulous with animal movement records and the way they use NAIT. Improvements to the system are underway to make this easier to do in future.
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"We don't know, in the long-term, what impact it could collectively have on an industry that is incredibly important to New Zealand's economy", she said.
The government said that along with the country's farming sector leaders, it had agreed to cull 126,000 cows. The bacteria is not harmful to humans and does not pose a threat to food safety.
- An improved compensation claim process. According to AP, officials indicated they won't be able to tell until the end of the year whether the mass cow killing plan will work.
The government will meet 68% of the cost, while farmers and the cattle industry will pay the rest, the New Zealand Herald reports. Of this, $698 million is the loss of production borne by farmers and $520 million of response costs.
The alternative plan, long term management of the disease, was estimated to cost $1.2 billion.