Mbo­vis cull ques­tioned


The time is com­ing when farm­ers need to ac­cept that the erad­i­ca­tion of My­coplasma bo­vis is un­likely to be a short-term project, Fed­er­ated Farm­ers na­tional ex­ec­u­tive mem­ber Miles An­der­son says.

At the Otago Fed­er­ated Farm­ers AGM in Bal­clutha on Tues­day, he told mem­bers the fo­cus would then need to shift to con­tain­ing the dis­ease and treat­ing it sim­i­lar to bovine tu­ber­cu­lo­sis.

Erad­i­cat­ing an­i­mals that were shed­ding, that is, show­ing signs of the dis­ease, rather than whole herds would be the next step, he said.

On Mon­day, a Cam­bridge prop­erty in the Waikato tested pos­i­tive for the dis­ease, bring­ing the na­tional to­tal to 39.

‘‘I sus­pect we may get a num­ber of new prop­er­ties in the next three to four months.’’

A ‘‘for­tune’’ could be spent try­ing to erad­i­cate it with lit­tle suc­cess be­cause many of the in­fected an­i­mals were not shed­ding the virus, he said.

Shed­ding of the virus hap­pens when an­i­mals are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing stress such as dur­ing calv­ing and feed short­ages.

Guest speaker NZ First list MP Mark Pat­ter­son said he was con­cerned that with culling there was a risk an­i­mals with huge ge­netic merit from long­stand­ing breed­ers could be lost with lit­tle rea­son.

The source of the in­cur­sion also needed to be pin­pointed and those re­spon­si­ble needed to be held to ac­count for the out­break, mem­bers heard.

A re­port made avail­able to Fed­er­ated Farm­ers mem­bers be­fore the meet­ing said in the past few weeks the in­dus­try and MPI had been eval­u­at­ing and cost­ing four op­tions with re­spect to the on­go­ing re­sponse, in­clud­ing two con­trol and erad­i­ca­tion op­tions, one long-term man­age­ment op­tion and a ‘‘walk away’’ op­tion that es­ti­mated the cost to New Zealand from liv­ing with the dis­ease. A de­ci­sion had yet to be made.

Story con­tin­ues page 8.

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