Human cost of M bovis

A friend got a phone call telling him that a herd from which he’d bought a couple of calves several years years ago had Mycoplasma bovis .

He told the caller that the calves and any of their paddock mates were dead and eaten.

That should have been the end of it but it wasn’t.

He wasn’t able to move any of his stock, including the bulls he’d just sold, and all his cattle had to undergo testing.

The test came back negative.

That should have been the end of it but it wasn’t.

He still wasn’t permitted to move any stock and all the cattle had to be tested again.

The going and froing  went on for months, made worse by communication issues, until his herd was finally declared clear of infection.

It was very frustrating but this farmer was well used to dealing with bureaucracy, there were significant costs but his livelihood wasn’t at stake and he didn’t have to cull his herd.

The  M. bovis saga has been far harder on a lot of other people.

A Newshub Nation investigation has uncovered multiple serious issues.  

We’ve found the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) made mistakes when deciding which animals to kill, there have been long delays in tracing high-risk animals, and there are growing concerns about the wellbeing of affected farmers.  

As the Government pushes for eradication, animals are being rounded up for slaughter – more than 90,000 culled so far.

The disease can cause various illnesses in cattle including arthritis, mastitis and pneumonia, and until recently New Zealand was one of only two nations in the world without it.

MPI has $886 million to eradicate the disease – but what about the human cost? . . .

The video that accompanies this story tells a very sad story.

It’s possible to add up the number of animals culled, jobs and income lost.

It’s impossible to quantify the human cost.

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