Vets block slaughter of pregnant cows in Mycoplasma bovis response

A directive from vets that blocks the slaughter of pregnant cows is set to cause chaos in the attempted eradication of Mycoplasma Bovis.

Newshub has learned vets are so worried about the welfare of pregnant cows, they won't approve them being sent to slaughter - even if animals are infected.

The New Zealand Veterinary Association has issued a directive saying it is unfair for pregnant cows to be transported to the freezing works, with the journey in trucks too arduous.

The directive says: "The first consideration must be the welfare of the animal. Members should not certify cows as fit-for-transport to slaughter within four weeks of due-date".

Helen Beattie, the Chief Veterinary Officer for the NZVA, said the cows found the travel difficult.

"What we are really worried about is making sure their welfare is protected at a time when they are very vulnerable," she said.

"These animals are heavily pregnant and if you ask any woman about not being able to sit down and have a rest at that stage is - it is pretty taxing."

The directive says pregnant cows' travel should be less than two hours.  

As of today, 32,561 cows have been killed in the Bovis response - and there are still tens of thousands to go.

It's calving season, and with so many pregnant cows, farmers says the vets directive will cause chaos.

Federated Farmers spokesman Chris Lewis blames the Ministry of Primary Industries.

"At calving times - cows calve. So if farms with M bovis are calving, they should have been removed before that time."

Farmers have told Newshub of potential welfare problems, like cows giving birth on the truck on the way to slaughter, and cows giving birth at freezing works just before slaughter.

The Ministry of Primary Industries refused to appear on camera, but provided answers that are just as brutal, saying it will facilitate killing the pregnant cows on farms or let them have the calves - then slaughter both animals.