Tens of thousands of New Zealand cattle infected with the mycoplasma bovis disease will be culled, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has revealed.
The decision comes after the global disease was first detected in New Zealand last year in a South Canterbury dairy herd.
The cull will result in more than 22,000 cattle deaths, according to multiple reports.
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- Cattle disease found on another Southland farm
- Anxious wait for unaffected farmers over mycoplasma bovis disease
MPI's response director Geoff Gwynn said that the depopulation of entire herds on all 28 Infected Properties is a critical measure to control the spread of the disease.
"We will be working closely with those farmers to plan how this will happen," Mr Gwynn said.
"This will be a big job and won't happen overnight, but we'll be meeting with the affected farmers in the coming days to discuss the operation, develop the plans and talk through compensation."
Mycoplasma bovis does not infect humans and is not a food safety risk. It does, however, have serious effects on cattle.
Despite the MPI's plans to cull, farmers with infected cattle will be compensated for their loses, it says.
"We understand this has been an incredibly difficult time for farmers while they wait for critical decisions to be made about managing and controlling this disease," Mr Gwynn said.
"This cull will give those farmers back some certainty and control over the future of their farms, their animals and their livelihoods."