New Zealand farmers find themselves in the midst of a cattle disease outbreak, with recent reports of mycoplasma bovis been found, as reported by mpi.nz.
Plans have now been developed and announced by the Ministry for Primary Industries to help control the further spreading of the disease. Plans are now underway to cull over 4,000 cattle on the 5 of the7 properties.
"Since the start of this response in late July, we've carried out tens of thousands of tests of the infected, neighbouring and trace properties as well as district-wide testing in Waimate and Waitaki, and nationwide testing of bulk milk," said Geoff Gwyn, MPI's Director of Response.
"The only positive results for the disease have been on 7 infected properties, leading us to be cautiously optimistic that we are dealing with a localised area of infection around Oamaru”, he continued.
He says to prevent further spreading of these diseases they need to cull a high number of cattle on a majority of the farms, which tested positive.
"To prevent further spread of the disease, around 4,000 cattle on 5 of the 7 infected properties will need to be culled and a programme put in place to decontaminate the properties and then re-populate the farms. The 2 other properties have had a small number of animals culled already and no cattle remain.”, he said.
He continued by saying that the entire operation is to minimise the risk of future outbreaks. He says this culling will ensure this.
"This whole operation is about managing the disease while keeping our future options open. We want to minimise the risk of further spread of the disease. Moving ahead with depopulation of the affected farms will allow them to get back to normal business as soon as it is safe to do so.", he added.
Mr. Gwyn added that MPI will continue to work closely with the animal industry bodies and other groups to help find a way to support the farmers affected. . New Zealand is one of the few countries in the world where Mycoplasma bovis is not endemic, which is why the industry groups support such significant measures to keep it that way.
"The coming weeks will present new challenges and will be tough for these affected farmers. MPI will work with those affected to make the process as straight forward as possible. I'd like to particularly thank the owners, sharemilkers and farm workers involved for their ongoing support, recognising this is a very difficult time for them," Mr Gwyn says.
Mr. Gwyn said the work will not begin tomorrow and will start after the consultation with affected parties, with most ill animals sent for slaughter.
All premises, transportation vehicles and equipment involved in culling will follow a strict decontamination and disinfection protocol to mitigate the risk of spreading the disease. While following depopulation a 60 day period where no cattle are allowed onto the affected farms will be put in place. Infected farms will then need to be sanitised and disinfected.
Mycoplasma bovis is an extremely small cell-wall deficient bacterium in the genus Mycoplasma. It causes mastitis, arthritis and pneumonia in and is implicated in the pathogenesis or exacerbation of bovine respiratory disease.