Sup­port for mass cull plan to stop M.bo­vis

CHB Mail - - News -

CHB beef and dairy farm­ers are be­ing en­cour­aged to talk to their lo­cal vet about biose­cu­rity mea­sures to try and pro­tect their farms and herds from the spread of My­coplasma bo­vis (M. bo­vis).

Vet­eri­nar­i­ans are sup­port­ing the gov­ern­ment’s plan to erad­i­cate M. bo­vis through the mass culling of more than 126,000 cows, de­scrib­ing it as the best chance of rid­ding New Zealand of the in­fec­tion.

In an­nounc­ing the cull last week as part of a 10-year, $886 mil­lion plan, Prime Min­is­ter Jacinda Ardern said it was a tough de­ci­sion to try and erad­i­cate M. bo­vis in what would be a world-first at­tempt.

“I em­pathise fully with those farm­ers go­ing through the pain of los­ing their herds,” she said.

The cull of around 126,000 an­i­mals, in ad­di­tion to 26,000 al­ready un­der­way, will take place over one to two years.

Agri­cul­ture and Biose­cu­rity Min­is­ter Damien O’Con­nor said as a for­mer sharemilker and farmer he could re­late to the “ter­ri­ble sit­u­a­tion fac­ing any­one who has to cull their herd”.

My­coplasma bo­vis is a bac­terium that causes ud­der in­fec­tions (mas­ti­tis), abor­tion, pneu­mo­nia and arthri­tis in cattle. It does not in­fect hu­mans and presents no food safety risk.

NZ Vet­eri­nary As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Dr Peter Blaikie said culling was the best op­tion in re­gards to an­i­mal wel­fare and urged farm­ers to ed­u­cate them­selves about the dis­ease and li­aise with their lo­cal vet.

CHB Vets owner Dr Karen Phillips agreed, say­ing that My­coplasma bo­vis was dif­fi­cult to iden­tify, hard to test for and hard to treat.

“New Zealand will never again be in a po­si­tion to erad­i­cate the dis­ease so now is our best chance to do so.

“Other coun­tries that have let the dis­ease be­come es­tab­lished have ad­vised they would have tried erad­i­ca­tion if they had the op­tion,” Dr Phillips said.

There are cur­rently 39 in­fected prop­er­ties around the coun­try, but only one in Hawke’s Bay — a farm in Hast­ings. Dr Phillips said, in time, it was “pos­si­ble that some CHB herds may be in­fected”.

“There are a lot of an­i­mal move­ments that have oc­curred over the last three years. Trac­ing these move­ments is dif­fi­cult and will be car­ried out as part of the sur­veil­lance.” She said it was essen­tial that vets had “real and reg­u­lar on-farm con­tact” with herds as they were trained to pick up on symp­toms.

“Non-re­spon­sive con­di­tions to treat­ment are the sort of cases we will see with My­coplasma in­fec­tion,” she said.

Farm­ers could em­ploy sim­ple biose­cu­rity mea­sures to pro­tect their herds, and she en­cour­aged them to talk to their vet.

PHOTO: FILE

HERD move­ments have helped the spread of My­coplasma bo­vis.

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