Farm­ers will need sup­port

Katikati Advertiser - - Over The Fence -

Farm­ers af­fected by the Gov­ern­ment’s new erad­i­ca­tion plan to tackle the cat­tle dis­ease My­coplasma Bo­vis will need to be sup­ported in what will be a har­row­ing time for them and their fam­i­lies. The warn­ing comes as Prime Min­is­ter Jacinda Ardern an­nounced last week a fur­ther 126,000 cat­tle would be de­stroyed in a ef­fort to rid the dis­ease fromNew Zealand.

The Prime Min­is­ter said it was a tough de­ci­sion to erad­i­cate M. bo­vis in what would be aworld-first at­tempt. “I em­pathise fully with those farm­ers go­ing through the pain of los­ing their herds.”

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

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.

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”.

“It’s re­ally tough on the fam­i­lies who are di­rectly in the firing line of this ter­ri­ble dis­ease. It’s up to us to work to­gether and sup­port them.”

Fed­er­ated Farm­ers pres­i­dent Katie Milne called it an “ex­cru­ci­at­ing ex­pe­ri­ence”.

“We’re go­ing to wrap some re­ally good sup­port around our farm­ers who are go­ing to go through this. This is a tough time, and the pain and an­guish they’re go­ing to go through is re­ally hideous and we have to sup­port them as neigh­bours, com­mu­nity mem­bers, farm­ers, friends and so on.”

Ru­ralWomenNewZealand pres­i­dent Fiona Gower said her or­gan­i­sa­tion was ready to sup­port those af­fected, es­pe­cially women and chil­dren. “We are com­mit­ted to en­sur­ing there are wrap­around wel­fare sup­port for those af­fected be­cause we un­der­stand that without this, high lev­els of stress in times of any cri­sis and in the af­ter­math can lead to a break­down in our ru­ral so­cial fab­ric.

“The last thingwe need is the bul­ly­ing of our chil­dren, an in­crease in fam­ily vi­o­lence or even sui­cide,” she said.

DairyNZ said it stood with the Gov­ern­ment in sup­port of the de­ci­sion to try to erad­i­cate the cat­tle dis­ease.

“We know that mov­ing to­wards erad­i­ca­tion will be a dev­as­tat­ing de­ci­sion for some, and will mean that thou­sands of an­i­mals will have to be culled,” said DairyNZ chair Jim van der Poel.

MsArdern said to not act would cost even more than what would be spent on try­ing to erad­i­cate it— $886 mil­lion. “We have this one shot to erad­i­cate, and we are tak­ing it to­gether. We­wan­tNewZealand to be free of it.”

She saidNewZealand had some fac­tors that made it pos­si­ble for it to be the only coun­try to ever erad­i­cate the dis­ease— it­was early in the out­break, NewZealand had nat­u­ral bor­ders, and there was only one strain iden­ti­fied so far.

The Gov­ern­ment will meet 68 per cent of the cost and DairyNZ and Beef and Lam­bNewZealand 32 per cent. Fol­low­ing de­pop­u­la­tion, cat­tle will be dis­in­fected and lie fal­low for 60 days af­ter which they can be re­stocked.

PHOTO: MARK MITCHELL

Prime Min­is­ter Jacinda Ardern and Agri­cul­ture and Bio-Se­cu­rity Min­is­ter Damien O’Con­nor an­nounc­ing the phased erad­i­ca­tion plan for My­coplasma bo­vis last week.

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