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.
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