Wellington, New Zealand: In an attempt to eradicate a strain off disease-causing bacteria, New Zealand plans to slaughter about 150,000 cows.
Politicians and industry leaders announced the ambitious plan on Monday. They say it will cost hundreds of millions of dollars, and, if successful, would be the first time an infected country has eliminated Mycoplasma bovis.
What is Mycoplasma Bovis
Mycoplasma bovis is a bacterial disease found in cattle in every major dairying country in the world except Norway and until recently New Zealand. It causes udder infections (mastitis), abortion, pneumonia and arthritis in cattle. It does not infect humans and presents no food safety risk. Farming is vital to the economy in New Zealand, whose isolation has helped protect it from some diseases that affect herds elsewhere. During the first few months of the outbreak, the disease appeared to spread slowly, and farmers and authorities were confident it would be contained.
Last July, Mycoplasma bovis was found in the country for the first time. Found in Europe and the U.S., the bacteria can cause cows to develop mastitis, pneumonia, arthritis and other diseases. They are not considered a threat to food safety, but do cause production losses.
How will the Mass slaughter happen
Officials say they plan to kill all cows on any farms where the bacteria are found, even if some of the animals are healthy. They say many of the cows will be slaughtered at processing plants and used for beef, but some cows will have to be killed and buried on the farms or dumped in approved landfills.