Cattle cull expandsas disease spreads

One thousand cattle on a newly-identified infected Waimate property will be culled, on top of 4000  cattle already scheduled for destruction because of Mycoplasma bovis.

The latest farm to test positive is one of two in the Waimate district placed under restrictions last week.

Testing was ongoing on the second property, and a third farm in the area was placed under the same controls yesterday, while further testing was done to determine if it was infected.

All three farms were in the same district as the Van Leeuwen Dairy Group properties, the Ministry for Primary Industries’ response incident controller David Yard said.

The culling of about 4000 dairy cattle from five Van Leeuwen Dairy Group properties  had  been signalled  after an outbreak of the bacterial disease, which  can cause mastitis, abortion, pneumonia and arthritis.

Mr Yard said it had been hoped to have the original 4000 animals culled before the end of the year.

"However as the number of infected properties increases, as with this latest detection, any final completion date will be moved out," he said.

MPI’s policy was that all cattle on infected farms were culled. There was still a lot of work to be done to ascertain the source of infection at the newly-confirmed infected property and building a picture of animal movements between all three farms and possible other farms in the Waimate district, he said.

Mycoplasma bovis was spread through close contact between animals and through the direct movement of cattle between properties.

MPI’s response team was now planning for how the new infected property would be managed and continuing testing of samples from the two other properties.

It was a very stressful time for everyone involved and MPI was working hard to locate and contain the disease, he said.

Farmers with any concerns could call the Mycoplasma bovis farmer support line on 027 444 9380 or their local Rural Support Trust on 0800 787 254 (0800 RURAL HELP). 

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